Dubai is the most popular destination for UK sun-starved holidaymakers in 2022, The National can reveal.
In fact, the emirate is more popular than ever with the British.
Data from online travel agency Skyscanner shows that bookings for 2022 to Dubai from the UK made in January increased by 49% compared to the same month in 2020.
They were even up 11% from the same month in 2019 – a year before the coronavirus emerged as a global threat.
The next most popular destinations for British holidaymakers are Spain, with Tenerife second and Malaga third. However, neither saw a comparable uptick in Dubai over previous bookings.
The surge in Dubai bookings wasn’t the only eye-catching statistic in Skyscanner’s January figures shared with The National.
January bookings for return economy class travel from the UK this summer are up 394 per cent on the previous month, some corollary to the relaxation of UK Covid travel rules on January 5.
Indeed, within the first hour of announcing the easing of testing restrictions for vaccinated UK travellers, Skyscanner saw an 81% increase in visits to its site.
Such is the extent to which demand has picked up, on Friday the UK’s largest airport, London Heathrow, announced that it was creating thousands of vacancies across its network.
Cheap flights rocket fuel demand
Beyond the obvious desire to flex the wings so far clipped by Covid, travel restrictions have eased, UK travelers are also being lured by a range of surprisingly cheap deals.
Flight prices are currently up to 71% cheaper than pre-pandemic 2019 prices for select destinations.
Such is their competitiveness, offers start from £25 in July for a return economy class journey from the UK to Spain.
This may not sit well with climatologists, one of whom said on Wednesday The National cheap flights should be phased out, but they are sure to please travelers and travel patrons alike.
“Travel suppliers – including airlines – are using low prices to encourage bookings and build trust as people travel again,” said Laura Lindsay, Skyscanner’s trends and destinations expert. The National.
“This extremely competitive market is great news for travelers looking for value-for-money travel. Many suppliers have spoken out about keeping prices as attractive as possible, so if you know how to research and compare, there are plenty of amazing deals to be had.
While Dubai and its year-round sunshine is the most popular destination for bookings throughout 2022, for the summer months of June, July and August, Spanish destinations dominate.
Top 10 summer 2022 destinations*
1. Malaga, Spain
2. Faro, Portugal
3. Alicante, Spain
4. Palma, Spain
5. Orlando, USA
6. Barcelona, Spain
7. Ibiza, Spain
8. Tenerife, Spain
9. Dalaman, Turkey
10 New York, United States
*Top destinations for UK travelers for return economy class travel booked through Skyscanner in January 2022 for travel in summer 2022 (June, July and August 2022)
“When asked when British travelers plan to holiday abroad this year, summer holidays were the big winners (40%), followed by Christmas (15%) and Easter (13 %),” Lindsay said.
“With testing restrictions further eased for UK travellers, we are seeing increased demand for summer holidays as [people from Britain] look forward to sunny breaks and the chance to reconnect with friends and family.”
While the list of top destinations above contains few surprises, there are one or two in Skyscanner’s equivalent summer bookings data when expanded to countries.
The gallery below counts them down in 10 seductive shots that will make your feet itch.
Top 10 countries for summer 2022*
*Top countries for UK travelers for return economy class travel booked through Skyscanner in January 2022 for travel in summer 2022 (June, July and August 2022)
Updated: February 5, 2022, 10:09 a.m.