Travellers ready for international escapes and luxury

After a year that left much of the world locked down and staring at the same four walls at home, Tripadvisor research, based on global traveller search behaviours and sentiment data across six markets (United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Japan and Singapore), has revealed that a new 2021 travel mindset has kicked in.

Having sacrificed vacation time in 2020, people want to make this year count – and that means levelling up their travel plans by spending more on luxury accommodation and destinations. Out with the weekend backpacking and budget hotels and in with the beachside villas and picture-perfect locations.

Despite the financial impact of COVID-19 hitting many hard, in the first three weeks of January, global travellers on Tripadvisor were searching for pricier trips than they had in the past two years (during the same period).

The average cost of a single future trip in 2021 that travellers globally are planning on Tripadvisor has jumped 13% since January 2019. In the UK and Singapore, that rises even more significantly, to +64% and +45% respectively since 2019.

When looking at the international destinations showing the biggest increase in hotel searches for trips planned in 2021, based on searches in the first two weeks of January (versus the same period in 2020), it is clear where some of those dollars may be going. In APAC, travellers are longing for high-end trips to visit cities like Singapore, Bangkok and Dubai. While travelers in Brazil, Germany and Spain prefer the overwater bungalows and pristine waters of Bora Bora and the Maldives as they seek relaxation to melt away the worries of the past year.

The same trends can be seen in the destinations that are popping on the Tripadvisor travel wish list – spots people have been “saving” on Tripadvisor in the last 12 months. Winners in the Emerging Destinations category of the 2021 Travelers’ Choice® Best of the Bes Awards for Destinations include the white sands and stunning volcanic landscapes of Martinique, the gastronomic delights of Armacao dos Buzios and the bustling and vibrant Male
in the heart of the Maldives.

Travellers are going luxe

Some of the projected increased travel spend seen on Tripadvisor may not just be down to the type of destinations travellers are booking, but also the type of accommodation they are choosing, as more than one in ten (11%) global travellers said that they plan to go luxe on accommodation in 2021.

Of the six nations surveyed, travellers from Singapore and the US are the most likely to have already booked a luxury hotel stay in 2021 – almost one in five have already done so (19% and 18% respectively), compared to a global average of one in seven (14%).

With more than a year of self-care to make up for, this is also true of recent search behavior for luxe accommodations on Tripadvisor in January 2021. Luxury Beach Resorts and Luxury Sp Resorts with high search demand appeared to be recovering the fastest year-on-year.

Plans to take multiple trips

The 2021 travel splurge is not just apparent in the cost of each trip, but also the number of trips travellers plan to take throughout the year. More than a quarter of Singaporeans (28%) surveyed said that they plan to take three or more international trips in 2021 – this is ahead of the global average of 24%.

“If dipping your toes in the bath was the closest you came to a poolside break last year, then you are not alone,” said Val Anthony, senior research analyst, Tripadvisor. “2020 was a year the world’s horizons narrowed by necessity, but that has only made travelers everywhere more determined than ever to spend big on adventure and exploration in 2021, and we are seeing that in the trips millions are planning around the world.”

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