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Travel in 2021: How to future-proof your holiday plans

© Press Association ImagesDubai marina
Dubai marina

With tour operators desperate to get customers back on their books, 2021 could see package holidays working out as cheaper than DIY bookings, Which? research has found.

It said Mediterranean package breaks for 2021 were cheaper than booking flights and accommodation separately in eight out of 10 cases.

Although few people managed to pack their suitcases this year, as ongoing restrictions and border closures caused havoc, there are hopes holidays will be possible again in 2021.

In addition to a number of trips rolled over, fresh bookings mean many places are already looking full in peak months.

Online travel platform HolidayPirates has predicted tourism recovery will be led by domestic and short or mid haul as safe corridors open up. Incentives and deals promoted by destinations, hospitality operators and travel partners will also influence the places people choose to book.

Phil Salcedo, head of market at HolidayPirates, says: “We believe it will take longer for long-haul travel to recover as passenger budgets and Covid-19 concerns make familiar destinations more attractive, whether that be at home or in Europe. Long-haul travel will still increase but the recovery to 2019 levels will be a longer one.”

Here’s what else we can expect for the year ahead…

A quirky interest in nature

The pandemic has awoken a desire to be playful and appreciate nature, reflected in a surge of interest in hotels with hot tubs, lodges with treehouses and pet-friendly properties. Whether to fill Instagram feeds or satisfy a desire to relive childhood dreams, quirky mini breaks will appeal to all generations throughout the year.

© PA
Toucans in Costa Rica

A revival of city breaks

Cities will be looking to lure wary tourists back when restrictions lift and confidence returns, and hotels are likely to be offering some fantastic deals. Urban centres such as Edinburgh and London will appeal to visitors desperate for culture and entertainment, while a lack of crowds will pull people overseas to popular spots such as Venice and Amsterdam.

A Greek odyssey

Greece and Cyprus have maintained a presence in the market, attracting summer visitors across the islands, despite dipping in and out of the travel corridors list. Consumers are likely to feel more confident about booking both countries in advance, making summer 2021 a bumper season.

A love affair with the Mediterranean

Italy and Spain will rebound as it becomes safer to travel, driven, in part, by repeat visitors who love the countries and want to return to their favourite cities and beach resorts.

Egypt, Malta and Croatia will also benefit from Brits returning to familiar places where they feel comfortable, particularly in destination resort ‘bubbles’ offered by trusted global brands.

A long-haul work in progress

To make working life easier, Dubai, the Maldives and some Caribbean countries are offering long-stay deals and less restrictive working visas to encourage digital nomads to pack their laptops and work from a new part of the world.

With working from home looking to be a long-term or permanent change in many companies’ working policies, the prediction is for more extended trips in 2021. Hotels are offering a range of deals including onsite IT support and personal trainers, while private homes and villas give space, privacy and minimum interaction.

© Press Association Images
Exploring Venice

A switch to green living

As travellers become more eco conscious, destinations with reputable sustainability credentials are set to grow in popularity. Interest in Costa Rica has grown more than 60% in the past six months. Celebrated as a leader in environmental policy, the small Central American country has pledged to become carbon-neutral and plastic-free by 2021.

Closer to home in Europe, Slovenia is flying a green flag.

Declared the first Green Country by international organisation Green Destinations, it’s packed with natural wonders including dramatic mountains and pristine beaches. Capital city Ljubljana is also one of Europe’s greenest urban areas.