For most of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has stopped us from jetting off on any holidays, but as travel restrictions ease, which destinations are coming out on top for our post-lockdown holidays? Official-esta.com has analysed Google Search Volume data for the search terms “Flights to X” and “Holidays in X” to establish which countries we are searching for the most, based on annual global search volumes. You can view the full findings here.
With travel restrictions now easing and making it possible for us to head abroad on holiday once more, many people are now looking for the perfect destination to squeeze in a late summer holiday, or are planning ahead for 2021. With a variety of locations to choose from, ranging from traditional European breaks on the Mediterranean, to long-haul holidays with more tropical climes, the choices for holidays are endless. But which destinations are we looking at the most for our post-lockdown escapes?
Italy comes top for post-lockdown holidays
Despite being one of the epicentres of the pandemic in Europe earlier in the year, Italy is revealed as the destination we are searching for the most when it comes to our next trip abroad, with over 1.9m (1,939,440) average annual global searches. Among those searching for holidays in Italy, more than 27,100 average monthly searches come from the United Kingdom, followed by the United States (4400 average monthly searches).
With airlines such as EasyJet offering highly discounted flights to destinations across Italy, and reports of usually tourist-filled hotspots such as the Cinque Terre being almost entirely deserted, it could be the perfect time to visit for anyone dreaming of indulging in a rich Italian meal. Additionally, Italy is currently on the list of countries that are exempt from FCO advice against non-essential travel, meaning that any visitors will not have to enter a 14-day quarantine period on their return to the UK.
The top 10 most-searched-for countries are:
Exotic holiday destinations still rank highly
The Maldives (1,798,680), Mexico (1,722,360) and Thailand (1,654,320) all appear among the top five destinations, despite the flight times all lasting around 12 hours. The Maldives also ranks as the most searched destination among those in the UK with more than 98,600 average monthly searches for flights and holidays to the region.
With more than 1.7 million tourists visiting the Maldives in 2019, the Minister for Tourism described the pandemic as “more devastating than the 2004 tsunami and the 2008 global financial crisis” to their tourism industry. However, the Maldives re-opened to tourists from around the world on the 15th of July, without the need for mandatory quarantine periods or COVID-19 tests for visitors on arrival, making it a destination that shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone wanting a luxury escape over the next few months.
Although Thailand may be one of the destinations we’re searching for the most, the country is still closed to international visitors. Domestic visitors have been allowed to travel within the country for more than a month, but it’s likely that flights will not be able to land until October and even then, tourists may be expected to remain within the country for a minimum period of 30 days.
China makes it into the top 15, ahead of New Zealand, despite COVID-19 case numbers
China may have been the original epicentre and source of the COVID-19 virus, but that seemingly hasn’t put tourists off visiting the country. With more than 1m (1,077,840) average annual global searches, China ranks above many other popular destinations including Croatia, the Philippines and Barbados. Looking at the numbers of those searching for holidays and flights to China, residents of the United States are those searching the most, with 41,900 average monthly searches, followed by those from the United Kingdom (11,700 searches), Canada (5200 searches) and Australia (4000 searches).
Although New Zealand has seen relative success with their management strategies over the last few months, and has been seen as one of the safer countries, the nation comes in 12th with 1,056,120 average annual global searches.
Jayne Forrester, Director of International Development at Official-esta.com comments: “With the last few months throwing both our lives and the travel industry into unchartered territory, it’s natural that some people may be rather apprehensive about returning to normal life and travelling as we were before. With destinations around the world closing their borders, travel hasn’t been an option, but with these borders now re-opening, it’s great to see that even countries that were among the worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including China and Italy, are being considered for holidays in the near future.
“It’s crucial that we begin to travel again, in order to generate revenue for the companies within the travel and tourism sector and ensure that we minimise any further job losses in the industry. As a result, we must find a balance between enjoying our travels and doing so in a safe and responsible manner, to prevent any further waves of the COVID-19 virus.”
The top 10 most-searched-for countries are: