Smart travel! The data that drives our dreams

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From the travel desk

February is such a short month yet it already feels like we’ve an entire year’s worth of shock headlines, strong opinion and scare stories. Everyone wants to go on holiday and tour operators want to sell their packages. The overwhelming message though is look before you book.

The best travel tip is to be prepared. A staycation is the simpler option. If you’re travelling abroad this year there will be extra costs involved to cover testing, possible quarantining and unknown expenses you might face if you get caught in a local lockdown.

Other points to consider include: will there be social distancing on the plane? What happens if you test positive for covid before the flight? Also, you’ll have to wear a mask for many hours: from the moment you enter an airport through to landing and leaving at the other end. So, pack lots of them, along with plenty of hand sanitiser, plus anything else you might need (a loo roll, snacks) just in case.

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A panic-free zone

At Chalkmarks, we have been looking at the data and the charts used by tourism agencies that help them see a clearer picture. The facts and figures will lead us back to those sunny beaches.

Here is a rundown of the up-to-date numbers that take out the noise. 

February: fast facts

  • £2.4bn: the cost of the UK covid variant on tourism.

  • Corfu (Greece), Orlando (US) and Faro (Portugal): top three destinations booked by Brits for 2021.

  • Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Germany: Europe’s top five destinations for 2021.

  • 51%: Europeans are eager to travel by the end of July.

  • Hotel chains: most trusted choice for overnight stays.

  • 100,000: tourists arrive in the Maldives in the fist 35 days of 2021.

*figures from VisitBrtiain, Visit Maldives ETC, ForwardKeys, STR.

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Worth a read

What's trending: “vaccine tourism”. Shortly after the remarkable news a jab had been developed that could end the coronavirus pandemic, people were Googling where they could travel to get the vaccine. Start reading!

The cost of covid: What's the cost of the UK variant? VisitBritain puts it at £2.4bn. Exclusive here!

Whale of a time: Tenerife becomes the only marine hub in Europe recognised for its responsible whale and dolphin watching. Must see!

No way Pedro: Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, frightened everyone in the UK when he suggested that he wanted 70% of Spaniards vaccinated before tourists could return this summer. Explore more!

One more thing: The biggest barrier to travel is consumer confidence (after the pandemic, of course). The UNWTO is drawing up the world's first tourism Code to protect travellers. Sneek a peek at the plan!

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Thanks for reading. Have a good month.

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