Travel Leaders' new survey names Cuba "Top Luxury Travel Up-and-Coming Destination" for 2016

Posted: 21-Jan-16 10:16

The results of a recent survey carried out by Travel Leaders Group were recently unveiled revealing Cuba as not only one of the listed up-and-coming destinations in the luxury travel market for 2016, but as the sole leading up-and-coming destination heading the list; which also included other trending luxury destinations like Iceland, the United Arab Emirates, Antarctica and African Safaris.

Travel Leaders' new survey names Cuba "Top Luxury Travel Up-and-Coming Destination" for 2016

Cuba has been recently declared the number one up-and-coming destination in luxury travel by the largest traditional travel agency company in North America, Travel Leaders Group.

Leading the way on the list of Luxury Travel Up-and-Coming Destinations 2016, Cuba joins other longer-standing, well-known (and well-established) luxury destinations like the United Arab Emirates, Iceland, African Safaris and Antarctica (with the latter two also among the newest in the group to be recognised as luxurious) but also beats them all to the top spot.

How you ask? Well, as it turns out, and as published on press release, it was all decided by a selection of luxury travel agent experts across the industry surveyed by Travel Leaders Group; over 86 per cent of which also stated that luxury travel bookings for 2016 were higher than or on par with 2015.

Speaking of Cuba as a surprising new addition to the list of up-and-coming luxury travel trends for 2016, Ninan Chacko, CEO at Travel Leaders Group said:

"Today's luxury traveler is someone who seeks incredible, authentic and memorable experiences – not merely 5-star hotels and Michelin star restaurants. So it makes perfect sense that Cuba, Antarctica, and African safaris are among the top 'up-and-coming' luxury travel destinations according to our luxury travel agents throughout the United States."

It may come as no surprise to anyone to learn that Cuba has indeed been a hot topic on worldwide media and a trending travel destination where many celebrities have been flocking to as of late (especially among US travellers who now enjoy easier access to it when they had been previously banned from it), but it has never been included in the luxury travel sector, with many discerning foreign tourists often complaining that Cuba still severely lacked the infrastructure and premium hotel standards needed to make it a truly world-class destination for seriously discerning travellers. But this image has also been changing in the last few months, with a long list of hotel openings challenging this view.

Further elaborating on the peculiar Caribbean island’s unique appeal, and how the expectation for the luxury holiday market in Cuba to keep growing and improving to reach international levels, Patrick Gragale, President of Protravel International explained:

"Because Cuba will undoubtedly change rapidly in the coming years due to the influx of American tourists and business influences, a growing number of Protravel International's affluent clientele want to experience its captivating time-stands-still charm now.

"The proximity, the people and the culture are all part of the appeal. When Americans can freely travel to Cuba for any type of vacation – not just a cultural exchange – and more luxury accommodations become available, I see Cuba moving from our up-and-coming list to join our overall list of top international destinations for luxury travelers."

Hotel Saratoga, the only receiver in Cuba of a prestigious international recognition after having ranked in 16th place among the 100 Best Hotels in the Americas and the Caribbean on Conde Nast Traveller’s Readers Travel Awards 2009, and later having also featured on the same list in the same ranking the following year, this time on Conde Nast Traveller’s UK edition of the Readers Travel Awards 2010, has long been perceived as the epitome of boutique chic and luxury in the island, with international celebrities like Beyonce and Jay Z among the guests.

But newer hotels and resorts beyond Havana are currently on the pipeline, with some of these aiming to bring the level of luxury to new unexplored heights. Most of these are placed on offshore enclaves in popular Cuban keys like Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria. Some of the newest luxury retreats to open include the Pullman Cayo Coco (ranking in first position of all luxury hotels in Cuba as ranked by TripAdvisor) and the Royalton Cayo Santa Maria.

Praised as offering the heighest height of Cuban luxury as it stands today are The Level & Spa at the Melia Buenavista, the Royal Service at Paradisus Princesa del Mar, Paradisus Varadero and Paradisus Rios de Oro, and The Level at the Melia Marina Varadero. More luxury hideaways are expected to follow suit as a list of new hotels in Cuba opening in 2016, 2017 and beyond was unveiled by the island’s leading travel authorities.

"Nobody books more luxury travel than Travel Leaders Group agents and their expertise is second to none. Our travel agents take pride in their ongoing efforts to specialize in and experience destinations, firsthand, that appeal particularly to their affluent clientele."

Concluded Nina Chacko in her note while generally speaking about the emerging luxury destinations as selected by expert voters.


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