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Travel - The Beach or is Art and Culture of Interest?

March 2, 2021.

This past week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed a governmental roadmap on the easing of lockdown restrictions across England, one of the countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In what appears to be driven by a successful vaccination strategy, the guidelines – if they prove to be a sustainable schedule and coronavirus doesn’t taken on further serious mutations – provides incredible optimism for travellers, not just in the country, but across the world.

The announcement also highlighted the truth in the many predictions regarding pent up travel demand. Popular metasearch engine and travel agency Skyscanner revealed that visitors to its site increased by +55% immediately following Mr Johnson’s speech in the House of Commons.

Much like the travel corridor announcement trends seen last year, this latest news translate into a “surge in travel demand,” says Hugh Aitken, VP of Flights at Skyscanner. The company’s data shows that flight bookings made on 22-Feb-2021, the day after the speech, increased by more than two thirds (+69%) compared to the previous day.

The top ten booked destinations on Skyscanner on this day (by volume of bookings) were: Spain; Pakistan; United States; Greece; India; Turkey; Italy; UK; Portugal; and Thailand. From this list the biggest movers (% increase from the previous day) were revealed to be UK to Portugal (+176%); UK to Spain (+170%); UK to Italy (+122%); UK to Turkey (+113%); and UK to Greece (+96%).

The bookings highlight a positive traveller sentiment, but Mr Aitken acknowledges that the importance of clear, straightforward and timely information from governments and the travel ecosystem “remains paramount to restoring both traveller and industry confidence, especially relating to quarantines and pre-departure testing”.

While COVID-19 remains a threat, there is strong expectations that travel plans will be different – certainly in the short-term, at least. Many experts predict we will all be better travellers. Business trips will be more efficiently crafted, while sustainability will be a key driver of our holiday plans. That could see a stronger interest in culture and the history of the destinations that we visit.

Although tra