Welcome to our third travel insights report of 2021, where we're sharing our weekly traveller pulse survey alongside the latest trends and flight search data.
Global traveller confidence continues to rise
These are the insights from our weekly pulse survey of more than 2,000 travellers from 19 countries around the world.
Perception of the global situation
Traveller confidence has grown really quickly over the past few weeks, with more people thinking the global situation is getting better. This is the highest level it’s been since June last year.
- 52% think it’s improving, up from 51% last week and 47% the week before.
- 32% think it’s staying the same, the same number as last week but down from 34% the week before.
- 17% think it’s getting worse, up from 16% last week but down from 19% the week before.
A hiker near Nova Levante in the Italian Dolomites mountain range.
On a regional level, travellers in the Americas are the most optimistic about the global situation, but there’s not much to separate the three regions.
- 47% think it’s improving, down from 49% last week but up from 44% the week before.
- 36% think it’s staying the same, up from 35% last week but down from 38% the week before.
- 17% think it’s getting worse, up from 16% last week but down from 18% the week before.
- 56% think it’s improving, up from 55% last week and 50% the week before.
- 27% think it’s staying the same, down from 29% last week and 31% the week before.
- 17% think it’s getting worse, up from 15% last week but down from 20% the week before.
- 54% think it’s improving, up from 52% last week and 49% the week before.
- 31% think it’s staying the same, the same number as last week but up from 49% the week before.
- 15% think it’s getting worse, down from 17% last week and 22% the week before.
Emotional arc diagram
This arc diagram highlights the relationship between travellers’ emotions. While there are high levels of uncertainty and frustration, there are also high levels of hope and optimism.
The circles represent the emotions that each traveller tags, while the size of the circle reflects the proportion of travellers selecting that emotion. The arcs then show the relationship between different emotions. For example, there are many travellers who feel both anxious yet hopeful.
Perception of domestic situation
Like the global situation, there’s been a sharp rise since the beginning of January in the number of people who believe the situation in their region is improving.
- 52% think it’s improving, the same number as last week but up from 49% the week before.
- 28% think it’s staying the same, down from 29% last week and 32% the week before.
- 20% think it’s getting worse, up from 19% last week and the week before.
A cityscape of Kyoto, Japan.
On a regional level, travellers in APAC are much more optimistic about domestic travel, with almost three quarters saying the situation is getting better.
- 49% think it’s improving, down from 50% last week but up from 47% the week before.
- 33% think it’s staying the same, up from 32% last week but down from 36% the week before.
- 18% think it’s staying the same, down from 19% last week but up from 17% the week before.
- 47% think it’s improving, the same as last week but up from 43% the week before.
- 26% think it’s staying the same, down from 27% and 29% the week before.
- 27% think it’s getting worse, the same as last week but down from 29% the week before.
- 70% think it’s improving, up from 68% last week and 66% the week before.
- 21% think it’s staying the same, down from 24% last week and 25% the week before.
- 9% think it’s getting worse, the same as last week and the week before.
Emotional arc diagrams
Of the three regions, travellers in EMEA are demonstrating the highest levels of patience. People in the Americas show an interesting relationship between hope and optimism being linked to anxiety. Across all regions, those in APAC have the lowest levels of interactions between negative emotions.
UK travellers set their sights on Turkey, Italy and Portugal for July
Last week there was welcome news for UK travellers after the government revealed how the country would emerge from lockdown. Visitors to skyscanner.net increased by 55% on 22 February with flight bookings up 69% from the day before.
- In-depth analysis reveals that Spain and Greece take the top spots for trips in August, while trips to Turkey, Italy and Portugal will be more likely in July.*
- The data also indicates couples are choosing Italy while families favour Turkey.
- Spain is the UK’s number one summer destination, returning after a year off the top spot in 2020.
- Holidaymakers heading off in July are more likely to take longer trips (over a week).
Sunset in Granada, Spain.
The top 10 booked destinations from the UK are:
- United States
From this list, the biggest movers (% increase in bookings from the previous day) are:
- Portugal – 176%
- Spain – 170%
- Italy – 122%
- Turkey – 113%
- Greece – 96%
Spain is the top destination booked by UK travellers since the announcement was made, with the most popular outbound month being August. Most trips (54%) will be a week or less in length, and the top destinations in Spain are Malaga, Palma and Ibiza.
Greece is another summer 2021 hotspot and most bookings made since the announcement are for trips departing in August. Greece was named a hotspot for last year in Skyscanner’s 2021 Destinations campaign which launched in December 2019.
Most trips to Turkey are being organised for July, with an average of 2.9 passengers per booking – indicating most bookings are for families and groups. Long trips to Turkey are common, with 76% of bookings for trips longer than a week.
The most popular time for holidays to Italy in summer 2021 is July, with an average of 2.2 passengers per booking – indicating couples or two friends are looking for an Italian escape. Most people are looking for a short getaway to il bel paese with 65% of bookings for a week or less.
Portugal retains its popularity, with family favourite Faro proving most popular in July, with almost half of bookings being for a week or less.
Jon Thorne, Skyscanner’s Traveller expert, comments:
“While UK holidaymakers are still waiting for the green light to be able to travel again, we’ve certainly seen consumers react to the latest roadmap announcement with a surge in bookings for summer 2021 and beyond.
"European short-haul destinations are the order of the day for the summer months, with travellers pinning their hopes on mainstay favourites Spain and Portugal, as well as Italy and new favourite Greece for that all important dose of sea and sunshine.
“It’s good news for those eager to get away this summer and book ahead as airlines look to be keeping prices low and flexible booking policies in place in order to entice travellers back to the skies.”
German travellers are searching for long-haul trips
German travellers are dreaming about going to favourites such as Spain and Greece. They’re also more interested in long-haul international destinations during the Easter and summer travel periods vs UK travellers.
The top searched international destinations for Easter are:
- Gran Canaria
The top searched international destinations for summer (June - August) are:
- New York
Part of the Istanbul skyline, Turkey, a popular destination for German travellers.
For German travellers who are booking (based on redirect data), our data shows some interesting trends:
- There's a clear spike in intent to travel at the end of March with an average passenger number of 1.7 – suggesting solo travellers or couples.
- Another notable spike is at the end of June and July, where there's an average passenger number of 2.6 – suggesting family travel.
- This is reflected in trip length, with 46% of redirects at the end of June and 47% at the end of July being between two weeks and a month.
The top booked international destinations for Easter (minimum 1,000 redirects) are:
The top booked international destinations for summer (June - August) minimum 1,000 redirects) are:
- New York
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.
*Analysis period is 22 Feb to 24 Feb 2021 following the government’s roadmap announcement on the potential re-opening of summer travel.