NEEDHAM, Mass., Dec. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Travel in 2021 may have had its starts and stops, but one thing was for sure this year: travelers' appetite to get out and explore showed no signs of waning. While travel as we know it may have looked different this year, people still got their fix in some way or another. As we close out the year, today Tripadvisor, the world's largest travel guidance platform, looks back over the last 12 months at some of the ways we reengaged the world as travelers connected, supported and guided each other to discover all the good out there 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 and positive that travel will recover.
In fact, more than 44 million new travelers joined the Tripadvisor community in 2021 and 2.5 million travelers posted a review for the first time in a year.
As of December 2021, Tripadvisor has 988 million reviews and opinions of 8.7 million accommodations, restaurants, experiences, airlines, cruises, and other travel related businesses. The website is available in 43 markets and 22 languages. In 2019 Tripadvisor had 463 million average monthly unique visitors which fell to 352 million in the 3rd quarter of 2021, 76% of the 2019 total.
Reviews aside, here are some other inspiring insights from 2021 worth celebrating:
Travelers were big on Trips this year
More than 7 million new Trips (travel itineraries) were created on our 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 the little escapes and the 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 5,000+ posts (and counting) that saw traveler updates both big and small.
As travel recovers, new businesses have been popping up everywhere this year to welcome guests back through their doors
309,270 new accommodations, 109,110 new experiences and 175,286 new restaurants listed their businesses on Tripadvisor in 2021
Travelers were longing for sunshine this year. These were some of the favorite sunny destinations travelers were searching for this year
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
Cancún, Mexico - saw a 17% increase in searches compared to 2020
"I daydream about Cancun during rush hour on my way back home from work." - Adaza
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic - saw a 96% 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
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt - more than doubled (106%) 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
Hurghada, Egypt. "Hurghada is less hassle than anywhere else in Egypt, and a great place for activities and relaxing." – khaled elio
In addition to sunny destinations, travelers were *obsessed* with outdoor experiences. Based on bookings done this year, these are some of the most popular destinations for outdoor experiences in 2021
Denver, Colorado - received 65% more bookings in 2021 compared with 2019
Top experience: Hiking Adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver
Sedona, Arizona - bookings in 2021 grew by 116% compared with 2019
Top experience: The Original Sedona UFO and Stargazing Night Tour.
Ontario, Canada - increased in bookings by 313% in 2021 compared with 2019
Top experience: Niagara Falls Grand Helicopter Adventure.
Moab, Utah - saw 53% more bookings in 2021 than 2019
Top experience: Moab Xtreme 3-Hour Experience
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica - received 152% more bookings in 2021 than 2019. Top experience: Sloth Tour in La Fortuna
Looking ahead to 2022, travelers 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
"2021 was full of ups and downs in travel but despite that, it was heartening to see how travelers showed up for each other, continuing to support, appreciate and share how they traveled where they could," said Steve Kaufer, President & CEO at Tripadvisor. "While a lot remains unknown in the year ahead, we remain hopeful and positive that travel will continue to recover, and travelers 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."
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.