Travel Data for December

The travel data for December is incredibly interesting because the UK has seen been subject to several major factors that have had a significant impact on international travel:

  • The second national lockdown ended in early December; however, a new tiered regional system immediately came into play.
  • With Christmas approaching, many people were scrambling to get back to their home countries in time for the 25th.
  • After the year that 2020 has been, it is unsurprisingly that many people have also been booking holidays in countries that still allow travel.
  • A new variant of the virus was discovered in England which has caused over 50 countries to close to ban travel from the UK.
  • The government launched the Test to Release system that allows travellers to take a PCR test to be released from self-isolation.
  • December also saw the beginning of the Pfizer vaccine rollout.

Combined, these factors have led to some unique and fascinating data.

Most popular travel destination from the UK for December

Despite all the upheaval, the five most popular destinations remain largely the same as last month. Spain is still the most popular destination, although by a much larger margin. Greece has seen a moderate rise which has bumped Pakistan out of the top 5.

Country Travel Popularity Last Month Change
Spain 1st 1st
United Arab Emirates (UAE) 2nd 2nd
Greece 3rd 8th +5
India 4th 3rd -1
Nigeria 5th 5th


Why are people traveling?

Due to the festive season, there has been a significant increase in people traveling to visit friends and family. Last month it was 52%, this month it’s 80%.

Travel December

Largest increases in travel popularity

There has been some significant movement since last month. The USA has shot onto the map due to the introduction of PCR or Antigen testing requirements on the 28th of December. Testing requirements and Christmas repatriation are also likely to have affected the positioning of the other destinations.

Country Travel Popularity Last Month Change
United States of America (USA) 15th 134th +119
Brazil 45th 134th +89
Cuba 40th 118th +78
France 7th 84th +77
Aruba 58th 134th +76


Largest decreases in travel popularity

As with the popularity increases, the significant drops are usually caused by changes to travel restrictions and entry requirements.

Country Travel Popularity Last Month Change
Côte d’Ivoire 117th 52nd -65
China 88th 32nd -56
Sudan 94th 40th -54
Seychelles 66th 117th -51
Uruguay 105th 55th -51


If you’re thinking about traveling, please refer to the Government website and our own travel portal.