How does a fall or winter getaway trip to Uruguay’s glamorous, just-under-the-radar beach town of José Ignacio sound? If you’re already dreaming of this pale-sand Hamptons of the Southern Hemisphere, you’re not alone: Uruguay has just landed at the top of Virtuoso’s Hot 10, the international travel agency network’s assessment of destinations with the biggest increases in year-over-year bookings among U.S. travelers.
The Hot 10 is part of the Virtuoso Luxe Report, a look at the buzzing world of upscale travel, which was released at Virtuoso Travel Week 2019, an annual gathering of the network’s thousands of luxury travel advisors and providers from around the world.
Uruguay landed at the top of the Hot 10 with a surge of 286% in year-over-year bookings. The South American country’s mild climate, award-winning wineries, and adventure opportunities “make it a sought-after destination for the season,” said Misty Belles, Managing Director, Global Public Relations for Virtuoso.
Perhaps not unexpectedly, the luxurious and beach-perfect destination of the Maldives came in as the second-hottest destination for the coming season, with a 171% increase in bookings from last year. The far-flung destination–26 atolls of more than 1,200 islands, which lie in the midst of the Indian Ocean to the south and southwest of India–continues to innovate with staggering luxury stays, including an underwater villa and glamping in a beach-based bubble.
Malta, the historic and highly cultured Mediterranean island with some of the most colorful beaches in the world, continues to heat up with bookings, and landed at number 3 on Virtuoso’s Hot 10. (No wonder: It was one of our Top 10 European islands for travel in 2019.)
Romania and Egypt rounded out the top 5, but it’s the surge of travel to Puerto Rico, landing on the Hot 10 in 6th place, that reminds that this rich cultural, historical, culinary (and beachy!) destination deserves to thrive as it continues to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017. According to Virtuoso, there’s a 120% increase in bookings to the island compared with last year, and that’s a trend worth emulating. If you’re dreaming of a whole new approach to Christmas this year, Puerto Rico goes crazy for the holiday and is a fantastic place to celebrate. (And if you can’t wait until Christmas, consider this incredible insider culinary tour we’re crazy about that’s this November).
Rounding out the Virtuoso Hot 10 for the season are Rwanda (7th place), Qatar (8th), South Korea (9th) and Norway (10th), home to some of the most stunning cruising on the planet along with treasures like this dreamy little cottage on the country’s sunniest island.
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