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Google has released its annual roundup of Year in Search trends, which covers a wide variety of topics, including tourism.
It’s no surprise that travel-related searches picked up big time in 2022, as more destinations re-opened and dropped Covid-related regulations like mandatory testing.
Among the various data released by the tech company is a list of top 10 trending destinations on its online flight booking search service Google Flights, which gives clues about where Americans want to go this year and beyond.
One key thing to know about this data: there’s a difference between “most searched” and “top trending.”
A representative from Google explains that “‘trending’ queries are the searches that had a high spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2022 as compared to 2021.”
Europe’s big comeback
Four of the top 10 destinations searched for by US-based Google Flights users – London, Paris, Rome and Lisbon – are in Europe, which had a resurgent summer travel season this year.
American tourists returned in droves to Europe, especially to France, where they were credited with “saving” the country’s summer holiday season.
While Lisbon’s popularity could just be due to the fact that it’s a nice place to go on vacation, it’s likely some of the searches were for one-way tickets.
Portugal offers a range of visas that make it relatively easy for Americans and other non-European Union citizens to move there – in fact, even Madonna has lived in Lisbon.
Asia rallies after Covid
Overall, countries in Asia were much slower to reopen than their European relatives. As a result, the Asia-Pacific region is set to lose its title as the world’s largest travel region this year.
That could explain why Ho Chi Minh City placed high on Google Flights’ trending list. Vietnam reopened to tourism in early 2022, while other traditionally popular countries like Japan and China remained shut.
A spate of new hotels opening in popular destinations like Phú Quốc and Ke Ga Bay – both of which are in the southern part of the country and accessible via Ho Chi Minh City – doesn’t hurt, either.
Meanwhile, India’s two big hubs, Mumbai and New Delhi, also made the US Google Flights list. India reopened its borders in late 2021, and US passport holders can apply for travel visas online.
Since Canada dropped the last of its Covid-related travel restrictions on October 1, US searches have spiked.
Vancouver landed in eighth place on the Google Flights trending list, while Toronto was fifth.
However, the huge influx of travelers landed Toronto ended on a different, less distinguished list earlier this year – Pearson Airport was named the worst in the world for flight delays and cancellations during the peak summer season.
The top 10
Here’s the list of the top 10 trending Google Flights destinations searched for in the US for 2022.
1. London, UK
2. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
3. Paris, France
4. New Delhi, India
5. Toronto, Canada
6. Rome, Italy
7. Mumbai, India
8. Vancouver, Canada
9. Lisbon, Portugal
10. New York, NY
For more Google insights, the company’s 12th annual Year in Search hub is now online.