What has the past year been like for the travel enthusiasts and the tourism industry? We understand that not everyone will agree with our opinion and our forecasts. For different people, for different countries, for different enterprises, this year has passed in different ways.
Our review of how the year has passed for travel and tourism lovers does not pretend to be scientific and objectivity. These are personal opinions and impressions of the past year from the authors of VISIT-PLUS, who also love to travel, just like you.
But the main thing is that tourism has survived and is recovering from the coronavirus strike. We hope, we believe, we know that we will travel and we will enjoy traveling, visiting new and old places, communicating with people from different countries.
One unpleasant news came at the end of the year, a new strain of the Omicron coronavirus caused concern in many countries.
Most of the travel enthusiasts and tourism industry enterprises were full of optimism, hopes for the restoration of countries' openness and tourism industry revenues. Our hopes were not fully realized last year, but the travel industry has survived.
Overview of Travel Trends
For many countries, the main trend in 2021 was the development of domestic tourism.
Americans traveled around their country. There were so many visitors to the US national parks that some national parks were forced to require pre-registration for travelers.
The Finns traveled around their country. The lake region of Finland and Lapland were the most popular regions in the country. On the Åland Islands tourists from Finland made up for the absence of tourists from Sweden.
Russians traveled around their country. This was facilitated by the fact that the country is very vast, and the fact that the government supported the development of domestic tourism. Learn more about Russia travel destinations.
Most likely, domestic tourism has developed in many countries, but we cannot tell about all of them. Tell us about your travels in our Facebook group.
We all looked forward to the recovery of international tourism in 2021. And this happened to some extent, but in some local form. Europeans could travel fairly freely within the EU, and Americans in North and Central America in the second half of the year.
International tourism was not very active in the first half of 2021. But in the second half of 2021, international tourism was able to noticeably recover, for example in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in Europe.
The rise in tourism has been made possible by an increase in traveler confidence brought about by the rapid progress in vaccinations.
Opening US borders to vaccinated tourists was a good decision that many have been waiting for.
Mexico. Mexico, we believe, has been the most popular overseas destination among US residents. At the end of the year, international tourism in Mexico has significantly increased, and is probably close to pre-coronavirus times. (Statistical information was not available for the entire year at the time of this article writing.)
The Dominican Republic. In the Dominican Republic, the beginning and middle of the year were rather sluggish. But tourists became more active in the second half of the year. It is reported that even more foreign tourists arrived in the Dominican Republic in November 2021 than in 2019. (Despite the fact that there were fewer tourists from the United States this year, tourists from other countries made up for their shortage.
Great Britain. The British were one of the most traveling nations before the pandemic. But in recent years, the number of outbound international travel by UK tourists has dropped significantly. It seems that many chose not to go on vacation at all. Those who decided to go on vacation travel chose to spend their holidays in the UK. It was much easier than circumventing the complicated rules and restrictions associated with overseas travel. But the British have not given up on travel abroad altogether. For example, UK residents were the largest foreign tourist group in Finnish Lapland in December.
Finland. Residents of Finland bhave traveled mainly in Finland last year. Popular destinations for travel in Finland were: in the summer - the lake region of Finland (a great place for a summer vacation), Åland Islands, Lapland; in winter - mountain centers.
Among the most popular foreign destinations were: Tallinn, Stockholm, the countries of Southern Europe. In past years, the largest group of foreign tourists were Russians before the pandemic. Russian citizens have almost no opportunity to visit Finland now (2021).
Russia. Domestic tourism was the main travel trend in Russia. The government is trying to take advantage of the situation and encourage travel within the country. Russians can in many cases receive a cashback (refund) of 20% of the cost for tours in Russia. The demand for comfortable hotels in popular resorts is especially high. The most popular overseas destination for Russians was Turkey this year. (Also available are: Maldives, UAE, Cyprus, Egypt and some other countries.)
- Most of the travel enthusiasts have traveled to their own country (sometimes to neighboring regions).
- For the inhabitants of North America, the most accessible foreign destinations were the countries of the Caribbean region, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.
- The easiest way for Europeans to travel is within the European Union.
- Turkey has managed to attract residents of Russia and the European Union to its resorts.
- The Maldives has been a popular holiday destination for wealthy citizens of India, Russia and some European countries.
What tourism will look like in 2022
We hope and even believe that 2022 will be more successful for the tourism industry. Most likely, domestic tourism will remain very popular in many countries of the world. But we will most likely be able to travel more freely to those cities and countries that we have dreamed of visiting in the last two years. Each of us can have our own dream destination.
Very good, maybe the best 2022 services for tourists (according to VISIT-PLUS):