Lonely Planet Writer

You might be surprised by the destinations that have seen a surge in interest from travellers

If you’re interested in learning about the destinations that other people are interested in, new research has found the ones that are growing and falling in popularity, based on online searches. The results indicate that some surprising countries have seen a surge in interest from travellers, compared with more traditional destinations.

Fontainhas village, Santo Antao island, Cabo Verde. Image: Guiziou Franck

Luxury tour operator, True Luxury Travel, compiled the newly-released Global Travel Search Index, and it did so using Google Trends to chart the search interest for destination-specific holiday search terms from 2004 to 2016. It has produced charts outlining the 25 countries that have shown the greatest increase in search interest, and those who showed the greatest decrease. The Global Travel Search Index also looked individually at specific years through the 12-year period where certain countries showed a dramatic spike or drop in search interest, and linked these back to current events that could impact on interest in these countries.

Dubai Fountain, Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates. Image: Marek Kijevsk

Cabo Verde is the holiday destination that has shown the greatest increase in search interest, and is up 3000% since 2004. This is in line with tourism figures, which show that the country experienced a 13.6% rise in foreign visitors in 2016, based on the previous year. The UAE showed the second-greatest increase in search interest, with a 681% rise in search interest between 2004 and 2016. The rest of the top ten countries were 3. Philippines 4. Pakistan 5. Nigeria 6. Yemen. 7. Qatar 8. Bangladesh 9. Kuwait 10. Oman.

Green Lagoon, Coron Island, The Philippines. Image: Elvera Venus Tandog/Getty Royalty Free

“It was interesting to see that holidaymakers appear to be becoming more adventurous with their holiday choices,” the company says, “with Cabo Verde topping our Global Travel Search Index ranking, while other far-flung destinations including the UAE, Philippines and Pakistan also ranked at the top. Meanwhile, more traditional holiday destinations ranked towards the bottom.”

The full results of the research can be viewed on the True Luxury Travel blog.