August 4, 2021

Horizons Brief: Travel Trends & Insights – 3 August

Welcome to August’s first travel insights report, where we share our latest traveller sentiment data and search and booking trends.

Traveller confidence is recovering once more

These are the results from our weekly pulse survey of thousands of travellers across 19 key markets.

Perception of the global situation

The most recent insights from our weekly pulse survey reveal the tide is beginning to turn again regarding traveller confidence. It’s been trending down since early June and is now starting to plateau – but remains at a level similar to the beginning of February.

Global - global-2

Sentiment key

  • 41% think it’s improving, the same as last week but down from 46% the week before

  • 33% think it’s staying the same, up from 29% last week and 27% the week before

  • 27% think it’s getting worse, down from 30% last week but up from 26% the week before

On a regional level, travellers in the Americas are still the most optimistic. Travellers in EMEA and APAC are, generally, less optimistic, but their numbers are starting to plateau – hopefully the first signs of a possible upward trend. In all three regions, more and more travellers think the global situation is staying the same, while fewer people in EMEA and APAC believe the situation is getting worse. 

AMER

Global - AMER-3

  • 55% think it’s improving, down from 57% last week and 67% the week before

  • 24% think it’s staying the same, up from 25% last week and 20% the week before

  • 21% think it’s getting worse, up from 18% last week and 13% the week before

APAC

Global - APAC-2

  • 39% think it’s improving, the same as last week but down from 47% the week before

  • 28% think it’s staying the same, up from 25% last week and 22% the week before

  • 33% think it’s getting worse, down from 36% last week but up from 31% the week before

EMEA

Global EMEA

  • 33% think it’s improving, the same as last week but down from 35% the week before

  • 38% think it’s staying the same, up from 32% last week and the week before

  • 29% think it’s getting worse, down from 35% last week and 33% the week before

Content_30July_2021Two young travellers gaze over forested hills in Asia.

Perception of the domestic situation

The number of travellers believing their domestic situation is getting better has increased in the last week, since being on a steady decline from the end of May.

Domestic - global-1

  • 42% think it’s improving, up from 41% last week but down from 45% the week before

  • 29% think it’s staying the same, up from 24% last week and 25% the week before

  • 29% think it’s getting worse, down from 36% last week and 30% the week before

Travellers from the Americas remain the most optimistic – with just over half believing their domestic situation is improving (compared with 37% in both APAC and EMEA).

Across all three regions, more people believe the situation is staying the same, with the biggest jumps from those in APAC and EMEA. Fewer travellers in APAC and EMEA think the situation is getting worse compared to last week, while in the Americas the number has remained flat over the past seven days.

AMER

Domestic - AMER-2

  • 51% think it’s improving, down from 54% last week and 63% the week before

  • 25% think it’s staying the same, up from 22% last week and 21% the week before

  • 24% think it’s getting worse, the same as last week and up from 16% the week before

APAC

Domestic - APAC-2

  • 37% think it’s improving, down from 42% last week and 49% the week before

  • 28% think it’s staying the same, up from 19% last week and 20% the week before

  • 35% think it’s getting worse, down from 39% last week and up from 31% the week before

EMEA

Domestic - EMEA-2

  • 37% think it’s improving, up from 33% last week and 34% the week before

  • 33% think it’s staying the same, up from 25% last week and 28% the week before

  • 30% think it’s getting worse, down from 42% last week and 38% the week before

Webinar: Using travel data to turn uncertainty into opportunity 

We recently hosted our first travel data event, exploring the power of search and booking data in helping businesses recover faster from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Featuring an engaging discussion with our data experts, plus a special guest from Edinburgh Airport, we discussed how travel will change over the next 12 months and the exciting opportunities for those who embrace a data-led recovery strategy.

 

UK travellers eye long-haul trips in October

Travellers in the UK are looking ahead to October as a time to enjoy some trips further from home. 

Last October, UK travellers turned their attention to nearby EU destinations for restriction-free short-haul breaks, including Cyprus and Turkey. 

Early October 2021 flight search data reveals that long-haul winter sun favourites in Asia, as well as New York and Las Vegas, are high on the wish list. Competitive pricing and flexible booking options are making the prospect of visiting far-flung destinations more attractive.

The top 5 destinations for this October are:

  1. Bangkok
  2. Bali
  3. New York
  4. Las Vegas
  5. Tokyo

Content2_30July_2021A market stall owner cooking seafood in Bangkok, Thailand.

Jon Thorne, Skyscanner’s Traveller Expert, comments: 

“In a pre-pandemic ‘normal year’, October and half term in particular are very popular times for a family getaway abroad, and we would usually see British travellers searching on Skyscanner for destinations such as the Canary Islands and Dubai for some short-haul winter sun.

"With an ever-changing travel situation, interestingly we’re seeing a highly responsive travel community start to dream of bucket-list trips again, with attention instead turning to destinations further afield such as Bali and Bangkok.”

Croatia’s rising popularity 

Interest in trips to Croatia from UK travellers surged after the country was added to the government’s green list on 19 July.

  • There was a 50% rise in bookings the day after the announcement

  • Searches increased by 199% week-on-week following the announcement

  • The most popular Croatian airports booked are Split, Dubrovnik and Zagreb 

The rise of traveller flexibility

Many UK travellers have adopted a flexible attitude in the short term to travel in 2021, as they look to get away whenever they can safely and within the rules. This new attitude is supported by many travel providers who have embraced flexible fares in order to build confidence.

This attitude is clearly shown with the top destinations searched on Skyscanner being part of the green list (or amber list for those fully vaccinated). Further to this, travellers are waiting until very close to departure to book their breaks over summer.

Another indicator of traveller flexibility is the rapid rise in interest in countries as soon as they join the green and amber lists and become accessible to UK travellers.

Travel providers – including airlines – will be using low prices to help encourage bookings and build confidence as people start to travel again, and this extremely competitive marketplace is fantastic news for travellers looking for good value trips. Many providers have been vocal about keeping prices as attractive as possible.

Content3_30July_2021Shops and restaurants lining the waterfront on the island of Hvar, Croatia.

In two weeks, we'll share more data and insights on our blog, as well as keeping you updated with how we're helping travellers and the industry during the pandemic.