“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.
Indeed, the travel sector may have had its starts and stops this year, but one thing was for certain: travellers’ appetite to get out and explore showed no signs of waning.
While travel as we know it has changed forever, people were still able to get their fix. TripAdvisor has looked back over the last 12 months at some key trends and how travelers reengaged, connected, supported and guided each other in 2021.
The pandemic has continued to make a profound impact on travel and tourism. However, despite lockdowns and travel restrictions far and wide, travelers remained hopeful that travel will recover.
More than 44 million new travelers 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.
Here are some inspiring insights from 2021:
- Travellers were big on Trips this year.
- Over seven million new Trips or travel itineraries were created on the 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 little escapes and big occasions. Just ask the travelers who named their trips “Mom needs a getaway, so no Momster comes out“, and “Where is Alexis going to propose?“
- Travelers 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, travelers managed to find bright spots everywhere. Tripadvisor’s “Highlight of the day!!!!” forum has 5000+ posts that saw traveler updates both big and small.
- As travel recovers, new businesses have opened up to welcome guests. 309,270 new accommodations, 109,110 new experiences and 175,286 new restaurants listed their businesses on Tripadvisor in 2021.
Increase in sunny destination searches
Travelers were longing for sunshine this year. These were some of the favorite sunny destinations travellers were searching for this year.
1 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
2 Cancún, Mexico – saw a 17 per cent increase in searches compared to 2020.
“I daydream about Cancun during rush hour on my way back home from work.” – Adaza
3 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – saw a 96 per cent 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
4 Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt – more than doubled (10 per cent) 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
5 Hurghada, Egypt
“Hurghada is less hassle than anywhere else in Egypt, and a great place for activities and relaxing.” – Khaled Elio.
Outdoor experiences more popular than ever
In addition to sunny destinations, travellers were *obsessed* with outdoor experiences. Based on bookings made this year, these are some of the most popular destinations for outdoor adventures in 2021.
1 Denver, Colorado – received 65 per cent more bookings in 2021 compared with 2019
Top experience: Hiking Adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver
2 Sedona, Arizona – bookings in 2021 grew by 116 per cent compared with 2019
Top experience: The Original Sedona UFO and Stargazing Night Tour
3 Ontario, Canada – increased in bookings by 313 per cent in 2021 compared with 2019
Top experience: Niagara Falls Grand Helicopter Adventure
4 Moab, Utah – saw 53 per cent more bookings in 2021 than in 2019
Top experience: Moab Xtreme 3-Hour Experience
5 La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica – received 152 per cent more bookings in 2021 than in 2019.
Top experience: Sloth Tour in La Fortuna
What about 2022?
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.
Steve Kaufer adds: “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.”