A comparison of the world’s top destination cities, before the pandemic in 2019, and throughout 2021, illustrates the strong trend towards leisure travel leading the recovery.
A new report from ForwardKeys has revealed the top travel trends of 2021, which, unsurprisingly, are all driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several major cities have been pushed down or out of the top 20 rankings, whereas major leisure destinations, particularly for US holidaymakers, have climbed high.
While Dubai remains at the top of the list (it is a major leisure destination as well as a substantial travel and commerce hub), the most notable rises include, Miami, from 18th to 5th, Madrid from 16th to 10th and new into the list, Cancun (Mexico) at 2nd, Cairo (Egypt) at 9th, Punta Cana (Dominical Republic) at 12th, San Juan (Puerto Rico) at 13th, Lisbon at 14th, Athens at 15th, Mexico City at 16th, Palma Mallorca at 17th, and Frankfurt at 20th.  ! ;The two highest risers, Cancun and Miami, are both major leisure destinations popular with US holidaymakers. Most of the new entrants lower down the list are also leading leisure destinations, popular with European holidaymakers. Doha, which entered at 7th, has done particularly well as a hub for transits,
Major pre-pandemic destinations, which have fallen out of the top 20 list include ten major cities: Bangkok, Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, Jeddah, Los Angeles and Osaka.
The paralysis of Asia Pacific continued while Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and much of Africa have proven most resilient.
A review of worldwide travel in 2021, broken down by region, reveals the extent to which international travel was paralysed. Overall, international air travel was just over a quarter (26%) of its pre-pandemic level. The Asia Pacific region reached just 8%; whereas Europe achieved 30%, Africa & the Middle East 36% and the Americas 40%.