Travel search engine released some really interesting data, revealing insightful information about where travelers are going during one of the most unpredictable years of travel.

By analyzing millions of search queries on the platform of travelers wishing to travel between January and December 2021, these main travel trends stood out:

Prices for domestic flights have fallen

The cost of travel from South Africa increased by around 3.2%, but those traveling locally saved money with an average domestic flight costing R2060 on average, or around 6.3 % less than before COVID-19. And with many countries instituting travel bans on Africa, South Africans traveling across the continent have also reportedly paid around 0.8% less for their regional flights.

Cape Town still in the lead for South African travelers

Many travelers have chosen to stay closer to home with an increase of around 273% in searches for Cape Town, in particular. Other cities that saw an increase in interest included Johannesburg (up around 249%), Durban (up around 208%), Port Elizabeth (up around 208%) and East London, which saw a massive increase of around 322%.

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Lilongwe, Malawi was top trending destination for 2021

Trending destinations show the various cities that received the largest increase in flight searches throughout the year. Lilongwe in Malawi landed an impressive top spot with an approximately nine-fold jump in searches from 2019.

While there are predictable destinations like Zimbabwe (around eight times), Harare (around seven times) and the Maldives (around six times), other destinations like Jamaica (around seven times) and Mexico (around five times), times) have also made an appearance on the roster this year.

Locally, the top three national locations that received the largest increase in searches are Hoedspruit in Limpopo (up 561%), Pietermaritzburg (up 473%) and Margate (up 404%).

Top 10 trending destinations in 2021 on Cheapflights for South Africans:

  • Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
  • Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Male, Maldives
  • Hoedspruit, South Africa
  • Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
  • Cancun, Mexico
  • Bujumbura, Burundi
  • Margate, South Africa

South Africans are very responsive to announcements of confinement

Following the President’s announcement of a move to Level 2 lockdown earlier in September, saw a significant change. September 22 was the busiest travel day in 2021. An increase in weekly flight searches also increased by around 134% for Heritage Day weekend.

More travelers have chosen to fly in style

Despite the economic downturn, South African travelers have chosen to go all out for their travel, with the majority of flights being sought in business class. In addition, searches for first class flights increased by around 12% compared to 2019.

Most inbound tourists were from the United States

While inbound searches to South Africa remained around 42% below pre-pandemic levels, international tourism was still present throughout the year, with most of the research coming from the United States. , followed by Germany, United Kingdom, France, Canada and Switzerland.