Life has changed dramatically for everyone over the past few months, with many of the familiar aspects of life that we previously took for granted being interrupted. One big example is travel and the freedom to move internationally, whether it’s out of necessity or for work or pleasure. Naturally, people all over the world are looking forward to when hopping a plane will once again be possible. But where are the most popular places that people are planning to visit? A new study has revealed the results.

Drawing on Google data, the study was revealed by travel company Kuoni, who mapped the most searched for and most popular 2021 holiday destinations for 131 countries around the world. The study showed a clear demand for future travel, with Google Trends indicating that searches for “2021 holiday” increased by 124% when compared to the end of March. Broken down by country, a map reveals which destination the 131 different places are focused on at the moment. 

Kuoni World Map
The world map shows what destinations are proving popular to different people © Kuoni

Looking at the global data, the results show that the United Arab Emirates is the most popular destination overall for 2021, followed by Qatar, Canada, and the USA, which all share joint second place, while Egypt came in third. Continent by continent, the Maldives is the top holiday destination for Europeans, while in Asia, the UAE and Canada are joint top as the most common Googled destinations for next year. The United Arab Emirates is also the number one searched for term in Africa, whereas Peru is the most popular 2021 destination for South Americans.

The United Kingdom’s most popular searches for holiday destinations in 2021 were Maldives, Mexico and Bali in that order, while Japan was the must-see destination for people from the United States and Canada. The map also showed that Russians are hoping to go to Mexico, while Australians are focused on Fiji.

Aerial drone view of a tropical island, Maldives
The Maldives is the place Europeans want to be in 2021 © Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

“With various stages of lockdown still the case for many places around the world, it’s not surprising that lots of us are wanting to book something to look forward to. It’s fascinating to see how popular destinations differ from country to country and the upturn in Google searches matches the upturn in 2021 bookings we’ve seen in recent weeks, with Maldives holidays being booked the most,” Dean Harvey of Kuoni told Lonely Planet. 

Lockdowns are easing globally as the planet adjusts to a new normal. Find out how COVID-19 is changing travel.

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