While the travel and tourism industry has has experienced unprecedented blows due to COVID-19, there are some small signs of a return in the next year. Compared to travel trends for 2020, the tourism and travel trends for 2021 include a much larger focus on domestic and ‘staycation’ travel.
Looking at recent data from Airbnb and TripAdvisor, we can start to see a clearer idea of what will be hot – and not – in the travel industry over the coming months. Airbnb predicts that in 2021, travel will continue to be less about tourism and more about living, working and connecting safely away from home. This includes remote working and “pod” travel. Surprisingly, travellers are still dreaming of exotic, bucket list destinations. It seems that after global lockdowns, the chance to finally take that once-in-a-lifetime trip is tempting.
While travel might look a little different in 2021, future trips are keeping travellers inspired, with 36% of Airbnb survey respondents saying they daydream about travel daily or more, increasing to 47% amongst people who work from home. A growing proportion of travellers are more likely to rent a car compared to take a taxi or use public transport.
Here’s some of the key tourism trends you need to know for the next 12 months.
Tourism & Travel Trends for 2021
1. Domestic Travel & Staycations
Next year, a range of domestic locations in national parks, winter ski and beach towns are becoming the most popular, perhaps showing a departure from regular seasonal travel, and a preference for traditional vacation getaway destinations year-round. Some of the top spots include:
- Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
Palm Springs, California
2. The Rise of Pod Travel
Whether it means traveling to be close to family members, or reuniting to quarantine with a group of friends, Airbnb states that “pod” travel is here to stay for those who want to safely be together while reducing risks associated with socialising with others.
3. A Focus on Safety
Across the globe, safety remains critical. Sixty-eight% of global travellers say safety and cleanliness of establishments are important when traveling locally. Keeping up to date with the latest travel restrictions and entry requirements will be top of traveller’s minds.
4. Last-Minute Travel
With so much uncertainty, people are booking trips closer to the travel date. Fall travellers are booking more near-term trips, often less than a week in advance, according to TripAdvisor.
5. Remote Working & Relocating
In 2021, work from home could become work from any home as remote working continues to be a reality for many people. One of the ways travellers are taking advantage of this trend is trying before they buy–turning to Airbnb to test new neighbourhoods and cities before making a long-term commitment.
6. Bucket List Travel Destinations
Though travel restrictions are still in place, US travellers are still dreaming of their next far flung adventure, as reflected in the top trending destinations by search for trips in 2021. Some of the most searched-for destinations include:
- Bogotá, Colombia
Seoul, South Korea
Taos County, New Mexico
La Misión, Mexico
7. ‘Homey’ Accommodation
While hotels make up the majority of interest due to size, Bed & Breakfasts have shown continuously stronger recovery year-over-year. Quaint, romantic and charming hotel properties are on the up in the U.S. Airbnb also found that more off the beaten path stays like cabins and cottages crack the top five space types for 2021 trips, replacing villas and townhouses from 2020.
The top trending space types among US travellers next year include a variety of spaces known for using less energy and producing less waste, including: