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Travel trends: People are choosing Var over Paris, Cornwall over London, and other rural areas

By Tanya Lara Published Jun 07, 2021 4:42 pm

Ever been to Var in France, Costa Blanca in Spain or Cornwall in the UK? Neither have we, but travelers are now choosing these destinations over Paris, Madrid and London—a reversal of pre-pandemic travel trends in 2019 when people chose cities over the great outdoors.

“The great escape to rural” is a trend in 2021, according to a study conducted by Airbnb.

Jeju, South Korea

Six years ago, rural travel accounted for less than 10% of nights booked globally on the platform. This year, as borders are opening to domestic tourists and vaccinated foreigners, the countryside and the great outdoors account for more than 20% across destinations and triple in many countries, such as Canada (43%), France (45%), the UK (48%), Australia (42%), and the US (28%).

“Internationally, the typical top destinations are cities. Now, locations well beyond cities are the top destinations for summer 2021–a departure from just two years ago,” according to Airbnb.  In France, it’s from Paris to Var; in Italy from Rome to Sardinia; in South Korea from Seoul to Jeju; in Spain from Barcelona to Costa Blanca in the UK from London to Cornwall.

Var, France

In the US, more and more people are also looking to stay in places near national and state parks, the Great Lakes and white sand beaches, according to a comparison of booking dates between June to August 2021 and June to August 2019.

Some of the top spots are Whitefish Mountain (near Glacier National Park), West Yellowstone (near Yellowstone), both in Montana; Hilton Head Island in South Carolina; and Miramar Beach in Florida.

Cities are being booked for long-term stays

Sardinia, Italy

Airbnb said that though rural destinations are trending this summer (June to August/September in the US and Europe), travelers are “starting to return to cities and for longer periods of time.”

Cornwall, the UK

This could also be because many countries are offering remote work visas, as long travelers can provide proof of income with a minimum amount set, among other travel incentives.

Costa Blanca, Spain

The top three destinations for long-term stays are all cities. In the US, they are New York, Seattle and Los Angeles.

Across the globe, long-term stays are being booked in Melbourne (Australia), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Montreal (Canada), Paris (France), Berlin (Germany), Rome (Italy), Seoul (South Korea), Mexico City (Mexico), Barcelona (Spain) and London (United Kingdom).