Where the Rich Will Travel in 2016

New year, new trends, new dream vacation? Well, the latter is true for U.S. luxury travelers (top 5% of household income) who have already started booking their next dream trip.

To find where the rich are traveling in 2016, Resonance interviewed 1,667 luxury travelers in our latest “2016 Luxury Travel Report”, and found that Mexico will attract more U.S. luxury travelers this year than any other country. Canada ranks second with 24%, while the Caribbean is more popular among the top 1% compared to general U.S. travelers (50% vs. 33%).

Top 10 Vacation Destinations for the Wealthiest 5% of U.S. Travelers

1. Mexico (26%)

2. Canada (24%)

3. Italy (24%)

4. England (22%)

5. France (22%)

6. Germany (14%)

7. Bahamas (14%)

8. Anguilla (13%)

9. Australia (12%)

10. U.S. Virgin Islands (11%)

Luxury developments in the Baja California Peninsula, many that were spurred on by the 2014 Hurricane Odile that swept throughout the region, are one of the reasons why Mexico is so highly touted. The reopening of many high end resorts like The Resort at Pedregal, One & Only Palmilla and Rosewood’s Las Ventanas al Paraiso,as well as strong established brands moving in — Four Seasons in Costa Palms, Cabo — are piquing the interested of the top 5%. Not to mention Montage Los Cabos will open its doors in 2017 boasting a 1,400 acre luxury community with 122 guest rooms, 52 ownership residences and a main pool spanning two levels overlooking the Sea of Cortez.

And just across the shore, those on rival international waters have ramped up luxury attractions to get a piece of the pie.

In Anguilla in the Caribbean, the government has focused almost exclusively on the development of luxury resorts, like Viceroy Anguilla, CéBlue Villas and Beach Resort, Malliouhana Resort, and the Zemi Beach House, which will open in February 2016 with beachfront residences starting at $2.1 million.

And these efforts are paying off.

Total visitor arrivals to Anguilla increased by 17 percent from 2013 to 2014 and new projects like The Reef by CuisinArt, Manoah and Solaria contributed to a 38 percent increase in construction as they prepared for their openings. For a country that relies so heavily on tourism — ranking 7th globally for Travel and Tourism’s total contribution to GDP — Anguilla needs to attract a high net worth travel market if it is to maintain market share in the highly competitive Caribbean market.

But while most luxury travelers don’t need to be as concerned with saving on travel as general travelers, it’s hard not to say take notice of a 30–40 percent discount. As the Canadian dollar remains at a low point, US luxury travelers are flocking north of the boarder to cash in their chips, with Whistler on the west coast leading the way.

“Homes that’ve just been sitting there for years are now being snatched up at a 40% discount, and we saw it starting just before Christmas,” says luxury real estate agent Maggie Thornhill.

“For many years, there was little interest in $3 million dollar vacation homes among U.S. buyers, but now a home that would cost $10 million for Canadians, only costs about $6 million for Americans.”

The interest among U.S. travelers also spans to Toronto. The success of Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton hotels that opened in Toronto between 2011 and 2012 have continued to gain steam.

To learn more about the travel intentions and aspirations of the Top 5% and Top 1% of U.S. travelers, you can purchase our 2016 U.S. Luxury Travel Report here.

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