Based on how frequently travel to them has been searched for online, ForwardKeys, a top travel analytics company, has identified the top 100 destinations this summer (from 1 July to 31 August). The most complete source of data on flight searches is ForwardKeys, which collects data from a wide range of online travel agents, airlines, and metasearch firms, including Google Flights, Kayak, Kiwi.com, Skyscanner, Wego, and others. Destinations looking to estimate travel intent highly desire it.
Bangkok is at the top of the list, much ahead of Paris, which is the second most popular location. As over 1.1 billion queries were examined for the research, ForwardKeys created the ranking indexed on the premise that Bangkok is 100 to make the list more palatable.
Paris is ranked number 73, London number 72, Denpasar number 69, Barcelona number 68, New York number 61, Lisbon number 54, Istanbul number 52, Madrid number 52, Athens number 51, Palma Mallorca number 48, Singapore number 46, Tokyo number 45, Kuala Lumpur number 45, Amsterdam number 44, Copenhagen number 42, Los Angeles number 42, Rome number 39, Manila number 34, and Frankfurt number 34. Antalya, Berlin, Cancun, Cairo, Delhi, Dubai, Dublin, Ho Chi Minh City, Malaga, Marrakech, Milan, Punta Cana, San Francisco, Seoul, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Warsaw, and others are included among the cities listed in positions 21–100.
The search rankings are also compared to last year, giving a rise and fall in relative popularity. Bangkok is up three places, pushing Paris off the top spot. London holds its position, in 3rd place. In capturing 4th position, Bali’s capital, Denpasar, rose six places, pushing down Barcelona to 5th, Lisbon to 7th, Istanbul to 8th, Madrid to 9th and Palma Mallorca to 11th. A new entrant in the top ten was Athens, up one place from 11th, while New York rose two places from 8th in 2022 to 6th this year. Impressive risers that charged into the top twenty were Tokyo, up 53 places to 13th, Kuala Lumpur, up 24 places to 14th, Singapore, up 14 places to 12th and Manilla, up 8 places to 19th. Their rise is principally explained by the relatively late relaxation of COVID-19 travel restrictions, which triggered a surge in interest.
Asian and Australian cities, where some of the toughest and longest-lasting pandemic travel restrictions were still in effect last summer, dominate the top ten list of highest climbers. Taipei has made the biggest strides, rising 161 spots to 56th. Following it are Hong Kong, which rose 129 spots to rank 39, Seoul, which rose 56 spots to rank 35, Tokyo, which rose 53 spots to rank 13, Hanoi, which rose 41 spots to rank 76, Auckland, which rose 41 spots to rank 103, Melbourne, which rose 31 spots to rank 75, Ho Chi Minh City, which rose 30 spots to rank 52, Kuala Lumpur, which rose 24 spots to rank 14, and Phuket, which rose 24 spots to rank 57.
A review of the airline ticketing database from ForwardKeys reveals some intriguing new patterns. Leisure travel to beach resorts has been in the lead all throughout the pandemic and at the beginning of the recovery. But things are starting to shift now. Summer airline reservations to beach destinations are up 22% from this time last year (2022), whereas reservations to urban, natural, and shopping destinations are up 42%, 45%, and 53%, respectively.
Global summer bookings are only 13% behind pre-pandemic (2019) levels as compared to the travel rebound. Geographically, there is a significant variation. The USA is the most important source market, and summer outbound flight bookings there are currently 11% ahead of those for 2019. Canada is in second place, 4% ahead. The EU is 11% behind, and the UK is only 3% behind. The best newly recovered continental source market is in Latin America, which is 14% behind. India comes next, trailing by 17%, South Korea, by 29%, the GCC nations, by 36%, and China, by 69%.
The expansion of London as a hub for multi-destination, long-haul travels to Europe, the allure of music festivals, and the quicker recovery in outbound travel from China than from Japan are some interesting phenomena that come to light through a more thorough review of flight bookings.