BY CERI SAVAGE

Economists are concerned about financial repercussions considering the current spending trends of consumers in luxury retail markets. This CNBC report shows that sales in quality products like cars, art, and high-end real estate are faltering. At the Pebble Beach car auctions, more than half the number of cars priced at $1 million dollars didn’t sell. These figures, along with the financial troubles of high-end companies like Barney’s and Nordstrom, suggest a fall in luxury spending that often comes before a recession.

But how do these economic concerns affect the luxury travel market?

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Well, surprisingly, the travel industry looks to be countering any economic slowdown as figures look positive for the rest of this year and 2020. Research shows that 50% of travel advisors think business will be better next year, compared to only 7% thinking it will be worse.

In fact, some figures indicate that low spending in areas like housing is actually adding to the success of the travel industry. Luxury travel brands are encouraging consumers to use the cash they’re not spending on cars and real estate to spend on extravagant holidays instead.

In light of all this, here are five top destinations for luxury travel consideration this 2019 winter.

Velaa Private Island, the Maldives

Always an affluent getaway for luxury travelers, Velaa Private Island in the Maldives is also a 2019 hotspot. The island is jumping on the trend this year of personalization for its guests. Luxury travellers are now offered more individualized ways of feeling special. Itinerates, experiences, and amenities are personalized for a high-quality travel experience. For example, its famous restaurant Aragu has introduced individualized menus according the personal tastes of its guests. With hot and sunny weather during the winter months, Velaa Private Island is certainly a top contender for the N0. 1 luxury travel destination of 2019.

Gstaad, Switzerland

This snowy paradise offers the perfect 2019 upscale holiday. With 136 miles of ski runs, luxury travellers aren’t likely to get bored with this winter wonderland. Tobogganing and dog sledding are other activities to keep travellers entertained, along with extensive hiking paths into the beautiful mountains. Plus many classy boutiques and restaurants exist for those who want to enjoy the views and relaxation without the exercise. Plenty of luxury lodges in which to rest at the end of a long day offer the high-end experience that continues well into the evening. Think fur rugs, fireplaces, fondue, and five-star chefs. Paradise!

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Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand has become a top destination for all travelers over the last decade, but it is developing its luxury travel market very impressively. Bangkok has especially reached out to the 2019 luxury trend of environmental travel. The AKARYN Hotel has promised a plastic-free experience to its guests. Such complimentary amenities as refillable water bottles, tote shopping bags, and glass straws offer a luxury experience along with eco-consciousness. Not far from the country’s capital, travelers can explore the famously stunning beaches of Thailand, where luxury sand-side resorts offer high-end services overlooking crystal-blue waters.

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Patagonia, Argentina

Located in the slopes of the Andes Mountains, the natural beauty of Patagonia is enough to take the breath of any holiday-maker. Patagonia offers a multitude of skiing opportunities and upscale accommodation on its slopes. It’s a great idea to spare no expense on this trip as additional activities include whale watching, horseback riding, ice skating, rock climbing, and river rafting. The pure, fresh air of the area keeps with the 2019 luxury travel trend of healthy vacations for rest and relaxation.

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Istria, Croatia

This Dalmatian Coast peninsula is a much-loved destination for all travellers, thanks to its perfect location, offering a blend of Italian and Croatian culture. But many of its more upscale opportunities make it a great luxury travel destination, and one of our favourites for 2019. One trend this year is authenticity. High-end travellers want to experience the local culture too. In Istria, they can hunt for the famous, rare truffles found in the Motovun Forest. After immersing themselves in the beautiful nearby nature, they can dine on their findings in the evening in style. Add some of the delicious wine from the traditional vineyards of the region and you have the perfect luxury travel experience.

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So if luxury travel is your guilty pleasure, now is the time to be indulging. The Travel Market Report says “the high end looks firm” and it looks like, for all income levels, spending money on travel is not a trend that will go away anytime soon.