Dubai is the most popular destination for sun-starved British holidaymakers in 2022, The National can reveal.
In fact, the emirate is more popular than ever with people from Britain.
Data from online travel agency Skyscanner show bookings for 2022 to Dubai from the UK made in January were up 49 per cent from the same month in 2020.
They were even 11 per cent up from the same month in 2019 — a year before the emergence of coronavirus as a global threat.
The next most popular destinations for British holidaymakers are in Spain, with Tenerife second and Malaga third. Neither saw a comparable uptick to Dubai from previous bookings, however.
The turbocharging of bookings to Dubai was not the only eye-catching stat from Skyscanner's January figures shared with The National.
Bookings in January for economy return travel from the UK this summer were up 394 per cent on the previous month, a certain corollary of the unwinding of UK Covid travel rules on January 5.
Indeed, in the first hour after the announcement that testing restrictions would be eased for vaccinated UK travellers, Skyscanner saw a 81 per cent surge in visits to its site.
Such is the extent to which demand has snapped back, on Friday the UK's largest airport, London's Heathrow, announced it was creating thousands of vacancies across its network.
Cheap flights rocket-fuel demand
Beyond the obvious desire to flex hitherto Covid-clipped wings now travel restrictions have eased, travellers from the UK are also being wooed by an array of astonishingly cheap deals.
Flight prices are currently up to 71 per cent cheaper than 2019 pre-pandemic prices for some destinations.
Such is their competitiveness, deals start from as little as £25 in July for economy return travel from the UK to Spain.
This may not please climate scientists, one of whom on Wednesday told The National cheap flights should be abolished, but it is sure to please travellers and travel bosses alike.
“Travel providers — including airlines — are using low prices to help encourage bookings and build confidence as people travel again,” Skyscanner trends and destinations expert Laura Lindsay told The National.
“This extremely competitive marketplace is fantastic news for travellers looking for good value trips. Many providers have been vocal about keeping prices as attractive as possible, so if you know how to search and compare there are many amazing deals to be had.”
While Dubai and its all-year-round sun is the most popular destination for bookings across the whole of 2022, for the summer months of June, July and August, Spanish destinations hold sway.
Top 10 summer destinations 2022*
1. Malaga, Spain
2. Faro, Portugal
3. Alicante, Spain
4. Palma, Spain
5. Orlando, US
6. Barcelona, Spain
7. Ibiza, Spain
8. Tenerife, Spain
9. Dalaman, Turkey
10 New York, US
*Top destinations for UK travellers for economy return travel booked via Skyscanner in January 2022 for travel in summer 2022 (June, July and August 2022)
“When asked what moments UK travellers plan to holiday abroad for this year, summer holidays was the resounding winner (40%), followed by Christmas (15%) and Easter (13%)," said Ms Lindsay.
“With testing restrictions further eased for UK travellers, we are seeing increased demand for summer holidays as [people from Britain] look forward to sunshine breaks and the chance to reconnect with friends and family.”
While the top destinations list above contains few surprises, there are one or two in the equivalent Skyscanner summer bookings data when broadened out to countries.
The gallery below counts them down in 10 alluring shots bound to get the feet itching.
Top 10 summer countries 2022*
*Top countries for UK travellers for economy return travel booked via Skyscanner in January 2022 for travel in summer 2022 (June, July and August 2022)