2021 set to be the year of the mega trip, as holiday makers upgrade their travel plans

The Maldives, Seychelles, Antigua, Sri Lanka, Bali and Thailand all make the long-haul wish list for 2021, with Italy and Greece the short-haul favourites, according to Kuoni’s Travel Forecast 2021 report.

The luxury travel operator predicts the big overseas trip will be back for 2021, with advance bookings gathering pace, no doubt bolstered by optimism for the vaccine roll-out.

Apparently upgrading is a big trend as we all look to make 2021 holidays extra special. The average spend per booking rose by £683 from £8,549 in 2019 to £9,231 for 2021, based on advance bookings so far. 

Kuoni says more people are upgrading to business class, adding helicopter transfers and extra experiences such as hot air balloon flights.    

The Maldives tops the list of long-haul destinations in demand, buoyed by more direct flights and the appeal of isolated retreats with private pool villas.

Kuoni says more people are upgrading to business class, adding helicopter transfers and extra experiences…

Pimp your safari with a balloon trip

The Seychelles are a top choice for couples looking for a castaway vibe – the islands (there are 115 in total) boast not one but two World Heritage Sites – and safari trips are also in demand.  Kenya remains a perennial favourite, but Botswana enquiries are also building. It’s one of Africa’s best kept secrets, says the operator.

Looking ahead, Kuoni expects strong demand for Thailand, particularly winter next year. ‘Offering exceptional value for money and diverse experiences it is a great long-haul choice for families and couples and one that works equally well for some serious and stylish upgrading.’ it notes.

The Caribbean is proving a hit, with Antigua trending as the top island of choice.  

Bali also makes the list, particularly for couples planning summer weddings. It’s one of the few long-haul destinations whose peak weather dovetails with the British summer, making it ideal for honeymoons.  

Sri Lanka on track to be a Top Ten luxury destination in 2021

Japan rounds out the top ten.  Although the country has yet to re-open to visitors, there are early signs that it is set to return as a favourite buck-list choice.  ‘Next year we expect strong demand for our Japanese Alps itinerary which combines spectacular alpine scenery with a stay at a hot-spring hideaway and visits to off the beaten track towns.’

“We’re seeing two types of travellers emerge, those who are prepared to book and travel at short notice and those who are planning much further ahead, aiming to travel in a year’s time or more,” says Kuoni CEO Derek Jones. “They’re enjoying  making plans and are excited about the idea of heading off to see the world again.”

Top destinations for holiday travel in 2021

  1. The Maldives
  2. Italy
  3. Kenya
  4. Seychelles
  5. Greece
  6. Antigua
  7. Thailand
  8. Botswana
  9. Bali
  10. Sri Lanka
  11. Japan
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