Travel in 2021 may have had its starts and stops, but one thing was for sure this year: travellers’ appetite to get out and explore showed no signs of waning.
While travel may have looked different this year, people still got their fix in some way or another.
As we close out the year, Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel guidance platform, looks back over the last 12 months at some of the ways travellers connected, supported and guided each other to discover all the good out there in 2021.
The pandemic has continued to make a profound impact on travel and tourism. However, despite lockdowns and travel restrictions far and wide, travellers remained hopeful and positive that travel will recover.
In fact, more than 44 million new travellers joined the Tripadvisor community in 2021 and 2.5 million travellers posted a review for the first time in a year.
Guidance and people-powered travel remain at the heart of Tripadvisor’s purpose. Without tips, recommendations and suggestions from people who have been there before, Tripadvisor wouldn’t be the invaluable resource that it has become for the millions who visit the platform every month.
Travellers like @alessandrofL127YD deserve a special mention – his 358 reviews in 2021 alone got a whopping 26,259 upvotes from fellow travellers who found them helpful.
Here are some other inspiring insights from 2021:
Travellers were big on Trips this year
*More than 7 million new Trips (travel itineraries) were created on Tripadvisor’s platform. If you took a trip a day, it would take you more than 13,830 years to do them all.
* The planning was endless, both the little escapes and the big occasions. Just ask the travellers who named their trips “Mom needs a getaway so no Momster comes out” and “Where is Alexis going to propose?”
* Travellers took the time to appreciate each other and the interactions they did manage to have, whether virtually or in person
* “Thank you” was mentioned over 41 million times in reviews and forums this year.
* Despite the impact of COVID-19 and its effect on travel, travellers managed to find bright spots everywhere
* Tripadvisor’s “Highlight of the day!!!!” forum has 5000+ posts (and counting) that saw traveller updates both big and small.
* As travel recovers, new businesses have been popping up everywhere this year to welcome guests back through their doors
* 309,270 new accommodations, 109,110 new experiences and 175,286 new restaurants listed their businesses on Tripadvisor in 2021
* Travellers were longing for sunshine this year. These were some of the favorite sunny destinations travellers were searching for this year
* Honolulu, Hawaii – saw 3.2x more Experiences bookings than pre-pandemic. “Everything in Hawaii seems to come with a story, and that is what makes it special.” – longboard
* Cancún, Mexico – saw a 17% increase in searches compared to 2020, “I daydream about Cancun during rush hour on my way back home from work.” – Adaza
* Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – saw a 96% increase in searches compared to 2020. “I can’t think of anywhere else so tropical and gorgeous, yet so affordable at the same time.” – SunLvr101
* Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt – more than doubled (106%) its searches compared to 2020. “The water was so blue and clear and filled with beautiful coral reefs…We will definitely be back!” – Lisa B
* Hurghada, Egypt. “Hurghada is less hassle than anywhere else in Egypt, and a great place for activities and relaxing.” – khaled elio
* In addition to sunny destinations, travellers were *obsessed* with outdoor experiences. Based on bookings done this year, these are some of the most popular destinations for outdoor experiences in 2021.
* Denver, Colorado – received 65% more bookings in 2021 compared with 2019. Hiking Adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver
* Sedona, Arizona – bookings in 2021 grew by 116% compared with 2019. Top experience: The Original Sedona UFO and Stargazing Night Tour
* Ontario, Canada – increased in bookings by 313% in 2021 compared with 2019. Top experience: Niagara Falls Grand Helicopter Adventure
* Moab, Utah – saw 53% more bookings in 2021 than 2019. Top experience: Moab Xtreme 3-Hour Experience
* La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica – received 152% more booking in 2021 than 2019. Top experience: Sloth Tour in La Fortuna
* Looking ahead to 2022, travellers are more than ready to get out of their work-from-home setups and back to exploring the world.
* There are over 66,000 Trips with “2022” in the title already saved
“2021 was full of ups and downs in travel but despite that, it was heartening to see how travellers showed up for each other, continuing to support, appreciate and share how they travelled where they could,” said Steve Kaufer, President & CEO at Tripadvisor. “While a lot remains unknown in the year ahead, we remain hopeful and positive that travel will continue to recover, and travellers will be able to get back out to finding the good out there. As a company, Tripadvisor and the Tripadvisor Foundation will do its part to help those in need get through this period of change.”
It was also inspiring to see how the traveller community mobilized to support pressing social issues and celebrate their diversity.
* Tripadvisor joined the Billion Mile Challenge led by Welcome.US and Miles4Migrants to secure 70,000 flights for Afghan evacuees ready to resettle but in need of a flight to their new home. With the support of the traveller community, Tripadvisor contributed over 49 Million Miles and 3,200 flights, including a match and contribution from the Tripadvisor Foundation, to this first-of-its-kind effort. They are 80% to their billion mile goal but still need support to help them cross the finish line. You can donate your miles, points, or dollars to join the challenge here.
* Tripadvisor’s support for the tens of thousands of Afghan evacuees also included a $1 million contribution from the Tripadvisor Foundation to World Central Kitchen’s operations at key arrival destinations (including Dulles, Virginia, U.S.A.; Madrid and Rota, Spain; and Doha, Qatar). Their efforts served more than 170,000 hot halal meals sourced from 14 local restaurants to individuals and families fleeing Afghanistan – many of whom hadn’t eaten a meal in days.
* Tripadvisor highlighted the importance of diverse representation by building content with advertising partners to celebrate Global Pride and yearly commemorations of Black History and Hispanic Heritage. It also completed landmark research specific to better understanding the needs of travellers within the Hispanic community.
* Tripadvisor’s travellers are joining it and Kiva in making a difference with life-changing loans this holiday season. For every loan to an entrepreneur, the Tripadvisor Foundation is providing another $25 to lend again – up to $150,000 raised. You can click https://www.kiva.org/cc/