Gaviota Azul beach in Cancun, Mexico.
Just as countries have started to lift pandemic travel bans and Americans begin to at least think about booking vacations abroad, the spread of the delta and omicron variants of Covid-19 has thrown the tourism industry’s fortunes to the wind again.
That said, hope springs eternal and U.S. travelers have been busy researching the long-delayed foreign trips they’d like to take once they can. Travel site ParkSleepFly has tracked where they want to go.
Researchers at ParkSleepFly analyzed data on Google searches from April to September by Americans on 168 foreign or overseas destinations in terms of flights, vacations and hotels, totaling them to determine rankings in categories such as the most in-demand countries, most in-demand cities and regions, countries increasing in travel popularity and countries seeing a decrease in interest from Americans.
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The No. 1 overseas destination that Americans are searching is Puerto Rico — technically a U.S. territory but still a flight or cruise away for those on the mainland. ParkSleepFly tracked nearly 1.69 million searches for the island. Rounding out the top five spots were the Maldives, with 491,200 searches; Costa Rica, at 384,600; Aruba, at 379,600; and Mexico, at 361,300.
The website also ranked the cities and regions attracting the most interest; the top 10 are listed in the box below.
ParkSleepFly also looked at which countries are falling or rising and in popularity among U.S. travelers. Searches for China travel have plummeted 75% — perhaps not surprisingly, given media coverage of coronavirus, along with current geopolitical tensions. “Following the emergence of Covid-19, China imposed strict border policy and suspended all visas on arrival, so it’s not surprising to see a decline in popularity,” the site wrote in its blog.
In second place for less interest from Americans is Italy, with a 59% drop-off, which ParkSleepFly attributed to the country’s numerous Covid lockdowns this year. At No. 3, Hong Kong — with some of the world’s strictest pandemic border restrictions — saw a 54% fall.
On the bright side, searches increased significantly for overseas or foreign destinations such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, up 98%; the Maldives, up 72%; and Indonesia, with 61% growth. Overseas or foreign cities and regions seeing the highest growth in interest include Saint Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, up 77%; Toronto, up 45%; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, up 41%.
For more on the study, and its methodology, go to ParkSleepFly’s website.