New Zealand is the hottest country in the world right now, according to Virtuoso — a network of luxury travel advisors and travel providers. Using data from its worldwide travel agency members, Virtuoso tracked the destinations experiencing the largest year-over-year growth, based on $32 billion in client transactions.
It’s no surprise that this Kiwi country topped Virtuoso’s Hot List, given its exposure in movies like “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” — and its untouched beauty. "There is a race towards trying to get to some of the more pristine places because of the rise in mass tourism and globalization,” said Virtuoso chairman and CEO Matthew D. Upchurch.
Some other findings in the Virtuoso survey: international travel to countries outside the U.S. is up 21 percent compared to the same time last year. Travel to Europe has seen a 23 percent increase. On the other hand, Russia’s tourism industry is plummeting — down a whopping 69%.
Read on to get a peek at the top 10: