Keep calm and continue travelling. For much of 2021 it was safer to be a different country than it was at home. But with changing restrictions and border closures we didn’t have a complete choice of destinations.
Here we celebrate three destinations that stayed open and kept travellers safe throughout 2021.
Private islands were among the first destinations where tourism recovered in 2020. Throughout the pandemic, The Maldives has done exceptionally well at minimising risk and keeping their island destinations open. So well that more people from the Czech Republic visited The Maldives this year than ever before.
Czechs now make up more than 3% of all arrivals to the Maldives. That’s more than visitors coming from the United States.
Over 40% of all Maldives tourists now come from Russia and India. The average stay has increased by two nights as well.
There are some exciting new openings on the islands, including the wellness retreat JOALI BEING. We expect Maldives to be even more popular in 2022, even if fully booked resorts are likely to increase their prices.
Consider some of the really exciting new options elsewhere in the Indian Ocean, including private island resorts off Madagascar and Mozambique. These destinations have been closed throughout much of the pandemic, so they’ve had time to fully revamp their accommodation options as well.
2021 was always going to be a big year for Dubai, with the delayed Expo 2020 finally opening this October. Dubai popularity came earlier than expected though, as Europeans flocked to Dubai in Spring 2021, to escape restrictions across the continent.
Back in April it felt like half of Prague was on holiday in Dubai. Some of our clients temporarily moved to Dubai during the heaviest restrictions.
The United Arab Emirates has a superb vaccination rate and their safety protocols have ensured almost everything has stayed open throughout 2021.
We’re now really seeing how Dubai has shifted from an exclusive five-star destination to a more mass-market destination. Many resorts still showcase the outstanding customer service Dubai built its reputation upon. However, some hotels like The Burj Al Arab, the self-proclaimed “first seven-star hotel,” simply don’t make their guests feel special.
Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia are following Dubai’s blueprint, aiming to transform themselves into tourist hotspots over the next five years. We’d recommend you wait, because there’s not much there just yet. Instead, Oman is the Arabian destination exciting us most for 2022. Great five-star hotels, bigger deserts, so much heritage and most importantly, so much space.
Did you know that Mexico didn’t close for a single day throughout 2021? It still has one of the world’s loosest border restrictions. As of December 2021, you don’t need to be vaccinated, nor have a negative test, nor need to quarantine on arrival. Yet in 2021, Mexico has seen less than half the visitors as it did in 2019.
Mexico is nowhere near Dubai and The Maldives in terms of vaccination rates or low infection numbers, which may explain why it hasn’t been a popular destination in 2021. The loose border restrictions are a deterrent to some as well.
We love the elevated amount of space and privacy on offer at Mexico’s five-star beach resorts, especially those on the Pacific coast.
We’ve also been very impressed by the new safety measures these resorts have implemented.
Overall, Mexico has proved a great destination in 2021 because it combines typical beach leisure time with a wide range of experiences. It’s where you visit Maya ruins in the morning, go snorkelling with sharks in the afternoon, then tequila tasting and a jungle dinner after dark. You can sail the coast, swim in cenotes, discover Mayan rituals, and then you still have the beach to enjoy as well.
A new collection of destinations will trend in 2022 and we’ll reveal our top picks over the next seven days, so you can always be ahead of the crowds.