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Where the world's richest travelers will be jetting off to this year

04 January 2018 - 00:00 By AFP Relaxnews
Glass Igloos at Arctic Snow Hotel in Finnish Lapland.
Glass Igloos at Arctic Snow Hotel in Finnish Lapland.
Image: 123RF/zhukovsky

While dream holidays have traditionally been set in sun-soaked, waterfront destinations, the uncharted territory of chillier climes like Iceland, Antarctica and the Arctic will become increasingly enticing for the world's wealthiest travelers

Cold, wintry destinations top the charts in a forecast from luxury travel network Virtuoso, which identified five key trends that'll dictate where well-heeled travelers will be jetting off to this year.

These trends include:

1. WINTER IS COMING

Travelers who've exhausted the world's most beautiful beaches and resorts will seek out chillier climes, says Virtuoso, like cruises that sail through Alaska, Antarctica and the Arctic. The celestial spectacle of the Northern Lights will also become increasingly popular, as will stays in igloos and frozen hotels. 

The prediction aligns with Virtuoso's top emerging destinations list, in which Iceland takes the top spot, followed by Croatia, Japan, Cuba and Portugal.

2. BEYOND THE COMFORT ZONE

From swimming with dolphins or manta rays, zip-lining above the jungle canopy or soaking in aerial views through a helicopter tour, wealthy travelers for whom money is no object will be more adventurous this year and step outside their comfort zone. 

3. MULTIGENERATIONAL TRAVEL 

In 2018, families will expand their travel plans to include grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for family trips that create lifelong memories and strengthen bonds. Cruises and the renting of whole villas in Europe will become increasingly popular. 

4. AFRICA 

As a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the African safari tops many a bucket list, and that's no exception for the world's rich and famous.

Good news for those working in the local travel industry is that Virtuoso's tipped South Africa to be one of 2018's top five global destinations. It ranked third, following Italy and Iceland, with France coming in forth position and Australia and New Zealand tying for the last spot. 

Mzansi also tied with Australia for fifth place on Virtuoso's list of the top five millennial destinations and took pole position in their ranking of the world's top five adventure destinations.

5. BE A TRAVELER, NOT A TOURIST

For a more authentic experience not found in guidebooks, travelers will seek out activities that bring them closer to the local culture, be it through wine tastings, language classes, or traditional arts and crafts classes.  

• Virtuoso is an international travel agency network specialising in luxury and experiential travel. 

• Additional reporting by staff reporter.

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