September 28, 2021

Horizons Brief: Travel Trends & Insights – 21 September

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

Traveller confidence continues to climb

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

Perception of the global situation

Traveller confidence continues to grow and has been trending up from the end of July, mirroring a consistent fall in the number of people believing the situation is worsening.

Global - global-4

Sentiment key

  • 53% think it’s improving, up from 50% last week and 47% the week before
  • 31% think it’s staying the same, down from 33% last week and 34% the week before

  • 15% think it’s getting worse, down from 17% last week and 20% the week before

On a regional level, travellers in the Americas are still the most optimistic. But the fastest increase in optimism is coming from European travellers. Those in APAC are the least optimistic and more believe the situation is getting worse compared to those in EMEA and AMER.


Global - AMER-Sep-15-2021-08-03-41-80-AM

  • 56% think it’s getting better, up from 55% last week and 50% the week before
  • 26% think it’s staying the same, down from 27% last week and 28% the week before
  • 18% think it’s getting worse, the same as last week and down from 22% the week before 


Global - EMEA-3

  • 54% think it’s improving, up from 49% last week and 46% the week before
  • 34% think it’s staying the same, down from 38% last week and 39% the week before
  • 12% think it’s getting worse, down from 13% last week and 15% the week before


Global - APAC-4

  • 44% think it’s improving, up from 43% last week and 42% the week before
  • 31% think it’s staying the same, up from 25% last week and 26% the week before
  • 25% think it’s getting worse, down from 31% last week and 32% the week before

10Sept_2021_blog4A hiker looking over the hills to the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye.

Perception of the domestic situation  

The number of travellers believing their domestic situation is improving has been growing since the middle of July – and is accelerating fast. Again, this is mirrored by a drop in the number of people believing the situation is getting worse, which has been falling dramatically over the past eight weeks.

Domestic - global-3

  • 56% think it’s improving, up from 51% last week and 48% the week before
  • 27% think it’s staying the same, down from 28% last week and 29% the week before
  • 17% think it’s getting worse, down from 21% last week and 23% the week before 

On a regional level, travellers in Europe are the most optimistic, with almost two-thirds believing their domestic situation is improving. Those in APAC are the least optimistic –more than twice as many think the situation is getting worse compared to EMEA. 


Domestic - EMEA-4

  • 60% think it’s improving, up from 54% last week and 51% the week before
  • 29% think it’s staying the same, down from 31% last week and 33% the week before
  • 11% think it’s getting worse, down from 15% last week and 16% the week before


Domestic - AMER-4

  • 52% think it’s improving, up from 49% last week and 43% the week before
  • 25% think it’s staying the same, up from 24% last week but the same as the week before
  • 23% think it’s getting worse, down from 27% last week and 31% the week before


Domestic - APAC-4

  • 49% think it’s improving, up from 44% last week and 47% the week before
  • 24% think it’s staying the same, up from 22% last week and 18% the week before
  • 27% think it’s getting worse, down from 33% last week and 35% the week before

‘Everywhere’ tops UK traveller search destinations for October 

Our ‘Everywhere’ search option has become the most popular destination choice for UK travellers this October, clearly indicating how confidence in travel is accelerating.  

After seeing some travellers take advantage of the green and amber lists over the last few months, many who might not have considered a trip abroad during the summer holidays are now actively planning for the next opportunity to travel. 

10Sept_2021_blog1The port town of Alicante on Spain's southeastern Costa Blanca. 

Spain has three destinations in the top five, due to a combination of traditional popularity and familiarity, amber list status and straightforward entry requirements for UK travellers. 

The top five searched destinations for October half term are: 

  1. ‘Everywhere’ 
  2. Alicante 
  3. Dubai 
  4. Lanzarote 
  5. Malaga 

Our ‘Everywhere’ search tool allows travellers to create an open-ended search. They choose a departure point (by country or city), a time frame for the trip (either specific dates, by month or by cheapest month) and the search will show available destinations listed by the best price.

UK travellers look ahead to winter sun 

Bookings for winter breaks by UK travellers have been gaining steady momentum, with weekly searches for December and January trips rising by 185% over the past month.  

The majority of UK travellers searching on Skyscanner are dreaming of long-haul destinations for winter sun breaks, favouring places in the USA and across Asia. 

62% of Australians are already planning overseas travel in 2022 

Australian travellers are growing more optimistic about overseas travel next year and are already planning trips, following the news they could be free to do so once the country’s 70-80% vaccination target is met, as well as Qantas announcing its plans to re-open certain routes from mid-December.

  • We’ve seen a 149% increase in week-on-week international searches from the last seven days of August to the first seven days of September.  

  • London is proving to be the most popular destination alongside long-haul destinations across Europe, the US and Asia – revealing how travellers are longing to get back to their favourite international destinations. 

10Sept_2021_blog2A waiter helps to prepare lunch at a restaurant in Rome, Italy.

We also ran a survey asking 1,000 Australians about their travel plans for next year: 

  • Mid- to long-haul trips are the most popular (37%)  

  • After a year of rescheduling and changing travel plans, 66% are already putting money away for a 2022 trip 

  • 33% revealed they’re planning to spend more money than they normally would on a trip to make up for lost time 

When asked for the main motive behind their trip, those surveyed revealed it was to: 

  • Catch up and reconnect with family (57%)

  • Enjoy a much-needed ‘escape’ (36%)

The top searched destinations for December 2021 – February 2022 (economy class, return travel from Australia) on Skyscanner over the first week of September were:   

1. London  

2. Manchester  

3. Rome  

4. Athens  

5. Bali  

6. Honolulu  

7. Singapore  

8. Dublin  

9. Amsterdam

Roxanne De Rouen, Consumer Traveller Expert at Skyscanner, comments:     

“It’s been nearly 18 months since unrestricted international travel has been a possibility for Australians. Families and travellers are waiting in anticipation of news of borders re-opening to get back to doing what they love, and reuniting with family and friends living overseas.

“Prior to the recent statewide and local lockdowns in Australia, Skyscanner saw domestic flight searches and bookings surge as Australians turned their desire for travel into action, exploring their own backyard in an effort to scratch that overseas travel itch.

"Globally, we’ve seen traveller searches and bookings spike immediately following news of travel corridors opening and restrictions easing, and we would expect to see Australian travellers react in a similar fashion to any travel news affecting their destinations of choice. Clear and consistent guidance, in addition to cheaper and easier testing options, are now more important than ever in order to restore traveller confidence and further re-open international travel.” 

10Sept_2021_blog3A surfer catching a wave at sunset on Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii. 

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.