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Splurge on travel urge in 2021

Are we on the verge of our long-promised rebound?

Recent research indicates that having sacrificed vacation time in 2020, people want to make this year count – and that means leveling 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.

The predicted 2021 travel splurge is not just apparent in the cost of each trip, but also the number of trips travelers plan to take throughout the year. Nearly a quarter (22 percent) of Australian travelers surveyed said that they plan to take three or more international trips in 2021. 

“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.”

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

After a year that left much of the world locked down, recent Tripadvisor research, based on global traveler search behaviours and sentiment data across six markets (United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Japan, and Singapore) reveals a new 2021 travel mindset has kicked in. 

In fact, the average cost of a single future trip in 2021 that travelers globally are planning on Tripadvisor has jumped 13 percent since January 2019. In the U.K. and Singapore, that rises even more significantly, to +64 percent and +45 percent 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 to see where some of those dollars may be going. 

In Australia, travelers are longing for high-end trips to visit cities like Singapore. While travelers in India, 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.

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

In fact, travelers from Australia have already booked a luxury hotel stay in 2021 – almost one in ten have already done so (9 percent). 

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 Spa Resorts with high search demand appeared to be recovering the fastest year-on-year.

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