Even as countries are beginning to roll out vaccines against Covid-19, travel in 2021 will be focused on regional destinations rather than international tourist meccas, according to a report released by Airbnb Inc. on Thursday.
Major cities like Toronto, New York, and London were some of Airbnb's biggest destinations in the second half of 2019. But the pandemic swooped in and shut down travel for months last year. As restrictions eased over the summer, smaller, low-profile destinations were in high demand, a trend Airbnb sees continuing this year. So far, the biggest increase in searches for booking include destinations like Rodanthe, on the outer banks of North Carolina, and Muskoka Lakes, a few hours' drive from Toronto.
The U.S. travel report derides the "long lines" and "shuttles" of mass tourism, saying that people are eager to travel again to see loved ones, not landmarks. In the midst of the pandemic, Airbnb saw record bookings for family travel, or groups of five or more.
According to the report, 54% of people surveyed said they have already booked travel or expect to travel this year. A strong majority, 56%, say the prefer a domestic or local destination versus 21% who are keen to visit someplace international and far away.