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Revealed: the most popular travel destinations in the world in 2021

Flight-booking website Skyscanner has revealed its global stats for travel searches this summer

Written by
Rosie Hewitson
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Has your long-anticipated summer holiday been scuppered this year? You’re far from being the only one. Predictably, coronavirus is playing havoc with our modern jet-setting lifestyles once again this summer as new variants spring up and vaccine passports dominate the headlines.

Yet despite the obstacles facing travellers this summer, plenty of us are still jetting off for a bit of sun, sea and sanitising in a new environment – just maybe not one they’d usually have opted for. So where are holiday-goers headed this year? Predictably, the answer depends largely on travel restrictions, both in your own country and in any given destination, says flight search engine Skyscanner

‘We have seen our travellers remain engaged with the changing regulations since the start of the pandemic,’ says Martin Nolan, Skyscanner’s consumer rights expert. ‘We see direct correlation in search and booking data with the latest news around travel, including potential corridors.’

When it comes to UK travellers, this primarily means intra-European beach and island destinations. Ever-popular with Brits abroad, Spain and Greece come in first and second place for UK searches made for flights in August and September, following the addition of both countries to the ‘amber list’ (plus the ending of quarantine requirements for double-jabbed passengers returning from ‘amber-list’ nations).

However, domestic flights are also proving popular with British travellers this summer, coming in third for searches over the same period, as other holidaymakers opt not to risk international travel. The same is true of travellers from the USA, where domestic flights are currently top of the rankings, with Las Vegas, Orlando and Los Angeles the most popular domestic destinations for Americans.

But as the world’s most travel-ready region, according to another recent survey by Skyscanner, it’s no surprise that US consumers are also continuing to book intercontinental travel. The UK, Italy and Spain come in just behind Mexico in the top five destinations being searched for by stateside Skyscanner users. 

As for the global picture, the most popular tourist destinations are those with some of the highest vaccination rates. Spain – where more than two-thirds of the population has received at least one jab – is currently the most searched-for destination on Skyscanner worldwide, with the USA in second place, followed by Italy, Brazil and Greece rounding out the top five. 

So there you have it. We’re not saying follow the crowds, but now you know where’s popping off... at least until the next new variant arrives. Happy holidaying!

Looking for more holiday inspo? Here’s why you should take a ‘fusion trip’ this year.

Plus: here are 18 of the world’s most underrated food cities, according to chefs.

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