River cruising has trumped the rest to become the number one travel trend in a major survey of global travel advisers.
It beat multi-generational travel, a previous cruise trend winner, and sparked an immediate debate about how the industry could grow to attract new passengers.
Some maintain that the river cruise industry has reached a peak. Others point out that new destinations and technology allowing ships to take their guests to shallower waters mean there are many new destinations to come.
Michelle Baran, influential editor of Travel Weekly’s river cruise newsletter, says: “With demand and hype still strong, we can only expect to see more new ships announced in Europe as well as further developments of exotic river destinations such as Myanmar’s Irrawaddy and India’s Ganges.
“We can anticipate some more new players will try and enter the market and that competition will become even fiercer. I see greater design innovation and even more amenities on the horizon.”
The 2015 Virtuoso Luxe Report, which surveyed 599 advisers including Australians, had some interesting insights into destinations.
Croatia secured the top spot in the emerging category, while Iceland, Cuba, Myanmar and Bhutan were close. But Italy reigned supreme as the “Top International Destination”. Australia was also among the top destinations.
Key findings from the 2015 Virtuoso Luxe Report:
Top Travel Trends
1. River cruising
2. Multigenerational travel
3. Active or adventure trips
4. Celebration travel
5. Family travel (immediate)
Top International Destinations
4. South Africa
Top Adventure Destinations
1. Costa Rica
2. South Africa
3. Galapagos Islands
4. New Zealand