COVID-19: Top holiday destinations Britons are booking for 2021 despite new lockdowns

As another lockdown strikes, the nation is looking forward to getting away to sunnier climes when the time arises.

With holidays cancelled and the chill of winter making our daily park walks ever less appealing, the idea of a sunny getaway is on the minds of many as the UK faces up to weeks of lockdown across all four nations.

New research reveals that exotic countries will reign supreme in 2021 as the global COVID-19 pandemic caused ever-changing travel restrictions to usual hotspots.

The top destination where people are most keen on visiting this year is the Maldives, the study by travel company Club Med showed.

Travel agents believe people who have saved up over the course of multiple lockdowns may now have more disposable income, meaning a usually expensive trip to the Maldives is now on the cards.

Mexico and Thailand came in second and third on the list as holidaymakers seem to be looking to travel far and wide following the lack of flying freedom in 2020.

For European travel, Britons are wanting to explore Turkey, Spain and Malta following a trend of people wanting to go to sunny spots over more prominent winter destinations.

Italy has recently been a popular choice, with Club Med booking data showing a 214% increase for Kamarina, Sicily, in September 2020 compared to the same time the previous year.

Cefalu, also in Sicily, saw an even larger increase of 350%.

Top holiday destinations for 2021:

1. Maldives

2. Mexico

3. Thailand

4. Turkey

5. Spain

6. USA

7. Malta

8. Portugal

9. Mauritius

10. South Africa

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic said it was anticipating a high volume of bookings to Caribbean islands, the US, and Pakistan.

A spokeswoman told Sky News: “We know that there is pent-up demand for travel and we look forward to welcoming customers safely back onboard, heading off on holiday or travelling to visit their loved ones.

“Once restrictions are lifted, we are anticipating particular demand for the Caribbean – we look forward to launching a new service to St Vincent this year.

“We also expect demand for families travelling to Orlando and we’re seeing some great offers for early bird bookings including four nights free at Walt Disney World Orlando.”

She continued: “A further new market we have identified are those visiting friends and relatives, our new services to Pakistan, for example, allowing loved ones to reunite after time apart.”

The UK’s biggest tour operator, TUI, said Greece and Turkey are its most popular summer holiday spots for 2021.

“Our current booking trends show that customers are locking in their summer holidays now so they have something to look forward to, with Greece and Turkey currently our most popular summer holiday destinations for 2021. These are closely followed by the Balearic and Canary Islands,” a spokeswoman told Sky News.

Greece came out as the top destination in 2020 for people in the UK looking to get away after a long year of uncertainty and restrictions.

The country was one of the first to open back up to travellers after the first lockdown, and since then has been a popular spot for Britons.

The nation’s search for an escape comes as the government enforced a new lockdown in England in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, while similar restrictions were also introduced in Scotland.

Wales and Northern Ireland were already under such measures.

While the government minister Michael Gove said Downing Street “should be able” to begin easing England’s lockdown in March, Boris Johnson informed the country that the “the weeks ahead will be the hardest yet”.

And with that comes cancelled holidays, with TUI earlier announcing that it had called off all getaways until the middle of February – meaning holidays are a no-go for the foreseeable future.

“As a result of the latest national lockdown measures announced on 4 January 2021, all TUI holidays will be cancelled in line with international travel restrictions,” the firm said.