Increased demand for luxury travel, longer and higher-end trips as well as immersive experiences: all are emerging as strong trends post-COVID, according to Vision Travel attendees of the International Luxury Travel Market conference held September 20-23 at the Fairmont Mayakoba resort in Mexico’s Riviera Maya.
“The opportunity to meet face to face with suppliers from Turkey, Colombia, Malta, and more has been wonderful,” said Ariane Henry, a Vision luxury travel advisor and cruise specialist based in Richmond, B.C.
Henry estimates that 95 per cent of her clientele are looking for luxury travel experiences.
“My clients are clearly showing confidence and trust in the high standards and protocols offered by this calibre of suppliers: I truly believe luxury travel will be 100 percent more in demand," she said.
Henry added that her clients are looking for longer, more immersive and experiential vacations, and are asking to spend more time in destination.
Some 650 attendees - comprising exhibitors and buyers/travel advisors from 50 countries - attended the event, which featured face-to-face appointments and multiple networking opportunities.
As well as following various Covid-19 protocols, attendees were provided with bracelets with QR codes to replace business cards.
“All signs indicate that luxury travel is experiencing a boom – certainly that’s what we are seeing at Vision,” said Joelle Goldman, vice-president, host services for Direct Travel (and its Canadian leisure brand Vision), who also attended the show. “Of our top five suppliers booked this past year, four are in the luxury space.”
Their colleague, senior luxury travel consultant Pat Tsatoumas from Montreal, also found the event, with its emphasis on the evolving growth of luxury travel, was very worthwhile.
“This is my third year attending and I’ve found my meetings with hoteliers including Fairmont, Ritz Carlton and SLS very informative. I’m now especially intrigued by the luxury options for visitors to Mexico City and plan to recommend it to my clients," Tsatoumas said.
Goldman remarked how pleased she was to be in Mexico and how many of the attendees, already acquainted through past dealings, were so happy to be meeting again in person. “The enthusiasm for luxury travel is palpable,” she remarked.
Vision/Direct’s emphasis on luxury travel is becoming more focused as clients express the desire for more “bucket list” and exotic experiences.
Henry also sees her role evolving.
“I am now a true travel advisor rather than an order processer. I’m finding my clients are very much relying on my advice and leaving decisions up to me. They’re simply not comfortable navigating the restrictions any more.”