Travellers Prefer New Destinations

Travellers prefer new undiscovered destinations, according to a survey conducted by Virtuoso, a US-based luxury travel network.

The 2012 Virtuoso Luxe Report indicates that Italy and France remain top favourite destinations for travellers in search of luxurious vacations, while England makes it to the top five favourite destinations of affluent travellers. Virtuoso clientele have expressed a preference to discover unexplored destinations in Cuba, followed by Cambodia and Belize, marking a new trend for adventurous travelling in 2012, which was less popular in previous years.

The five most popular destinations for family travel in 2012, according to the survey, are Italy, England, Costa Rica, Hawaii (US), and Turks and Caicos; while the top motives affecting travel choices include the search for genuine experiences in new destinations; rest and relaxation; and personal enrichment; which were same as those in 2011.

While survey results show that international travel maintains its appeal to travellers, luxurious river cruises are also proving to be an emerging travel trend, after family and multi-generational travel, which remains the top vacation choice for the upscale traveller.

Virtuoso chairman and chief executive officer, Matthew D Upchurch, CTC, said, ‘The Virtuoso traveller continues to look for new resorts and destinations to visit, personal enrichment and tailored experiences from their travels. Whether it’s a desire to explore new lands, reconnect with loved ones or seek new adventures, Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to plan the ultimate travel experience. The Luxe Report is an extension of that relationship and those ongoing advisor-client conversations.’

Sun, Sea, and Sand: Our Favourite Caribbean Island Getaways

One of the world’s hidden cultural treasure spots, the Caribbean is a favourite amongst sun seeking holidayers. Extending from the Florida Peninsula’s western coast all the way down to the top point of South America, the Caribbean Sea is one of the world’s most ecologically varied and culturally interesting locations. From luxury resorts to developing nations, the region truly has it all.

And yet so many Britons pass over the Caribbean as a holiday spot, largely due to its inconvenient location and relative expense. With the warm Spanish summer significantly closer to home and an African island getaway available for a fraction of the cost, flying all the way to the Caribbean can seem like a waste of cash. But with the right selection of island and accommodation, it really isn’t.

For first-timers in the region, Puerto Rico is an accessible starting point. The islands is a territory of the United States, sharing the large nation’s currency and common law, making it a significantly less stressful transition than other countries in the region. Capital San Juan is an interesting collection of colonial Spanish buildings and tropical beaches, blending history and leisure perfectly for visitors.

Condado is home to the city’s most impressive beaches – an expansive stretch of sand backing onto some of Puerto Rico’s most expensive hotels. The area offers worthwhile nightlife, though superior bars and restaurants are located throughout the Old San Juan area. Hotels in the city typically begin from around £50, making it a fairly inexpensive holiday destination.

Given the Caribbean’s more remote location than nearby European beach destinations, it’s certainly not a travel centre for the plane-averse. However, given its affordable pricing and relative shortage of European tourists, it represents a more complete getaway than Britain’s nearby beach resorts and the typical string of Mediterranean holiday spots.

Braving Malaysia’s Summer Heat: The Best Peninsula Scuba Spots

Due to the massive growth of low-cost carriers such as AirAsia and Tiger Airways, Malaysia has turned into one of Asia’s most popular travel destinations and a hub for transfers between major continental airlines. While the country’s remote resorts and exotic cities continue to attract those prepared to shop, relax, and treat themselves, it’s the country’s scenery that really sets it apart.

Most visitors to Malaysia turn towards the country’s largest city, Kuala Lumpur, in search of warm relaxation and worthwhile shopping. While the capital is unlikely to disappoint, it’s certainly not the country’s only major attraction or stopping point. Renowned amongst divers, Malaysia’s peninsula beaches and remote bays are considered some of the world’s best SCUBA diving locations.

Just hours from Kuala Lumpur is Tioman Island, one of the country’s most accessible and popular diving areas. The island itself is an eight-kilometre boat ride from the mainland, making its shores and lagoons almost completely uninhabited by other divers during the country’s low season. While advanced divers are unlikely to be thrilled by its wrecks, novices will appreciate its simplicity.

For those planning an extended stay within the country, the Rendand Island archipelago offers some of the most varied and interesting species of coral within Southeast Asia. Formerly a major point of combat between Malaysia’s national forces and the Imperial Japanese Navy, the archipelago is also home to several low-depth wrecks and historic dive sites, each located close to the island’s shore.

The cost of diving at Malaysia’s peninsula islands is continually increasing, although the country is significantly less expensive than similar destinations throughout Europe. Beginner divers will need to budget approximately £250 for basic diving instruction and training, while a budget of at around £100 daily is recommended for more advanced diving locations and wreck exploration.