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The Main Factors Affecting Destination Choices For Air Travelers

by Staff

Commercial air travel has significantly recovered from the pandemic-related disruptions in the last two years. With airlines increasing their destination offerings and online vacation sites providing economical travel packages, people are now more willing to spend on their next vacation destination.

The 2023 Skyscanner Horizons Report shows that the destination choices of air travelers globally are affected by several factors at their intended destinations. People conduct plenty of research on the environment, attractions, or food before deciding on a travel destination.

Simple Flying explores the top five factors that affect people’s destination choices when planning air travel. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.

5 The area’s vibe

People affected when choosing travel destination: 41%

Top 3 countries
Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands 57%
Germany 49%
Spain 46%

Starting off our list is the area vibe, an interesting factor that affects people’s travel choices. According to 41% of global travelers, the destination vibe is essential to a vacation destination. Air travelers aim to find locations that match their personal interests, such as sports, theaters, or history.

Photo: NYC Russ | Shutterstock

Airlines that serve tourist destinations generally partner with vacation sites to provide customers another reason to travel with them. Vacation sites can filter the exact interests and, therefore, vibes travelers are looking for. Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands top our list, with 57% of people considering the destination vibe a vital factor in visiting. Germany and Spain follow the list with 49% and 46%, respectively.

4 Tourist attractions

People affected when choosing travel destination: 49%

Top 3 countries
Singapore 70%
Australia 65%
United Arab Emirates 64%

Number four on our list is perhaps the most unsurprising – the amount and kinds of tourist attractions. According to nearly half of global travelers, such activities are a critical factor in selecting a vacation destination. Airlines specify their schedules based on holidays and celebration times to attract tourists to specific places.


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An Arajet Boeing 737 MAX 8 just above many beach goers in St. Martin.

Photo: Arajet

Airlines are also known for advertising their routes based on iconic buildings and attractions at destinations in their network. Singapore tops the category with an impressive 70% of people considering tourist attractions the most important factor for traveling to the bustling island city-state. Australia and the United Arab Emirates follow the list with 65% and 64%, respectively.

3 The area’s culture

People affected when choosing travel destination: 54%

Top 3 countries
India 65%
United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands 60%
Spain, Italy 59%

Number three on our list is the destination’s culture. According to more than half of global travelers, culture was the main reason they decided to travel to a certain country. Culture is something that travelers connect with and learn much from. Whether it is the people, local markets, or traditions, global travelers like to enjoy a piece of a complementary or similar culture during their travels.

Scoot and Malaysia Airlines aircraft parked at Singapore Changi Airport.

Photo: lydiarei | Shutterstock

Large commercial airlines fly to almost every part of the world, exploring local cultures. Airlines work closely with social and cultural groups at destinations to carve out the best customer offerings. India tops our list, with 65% of people considering the nation’s culture a top reason for visiting. The United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands tie for the second position with 60%. Spain and Italy follow the list with 59% each.

2 Food and drink

People affected when choosing travel destination: 58%

Singapore 75%
India 71%
Japan 66%

The runner-up on our list is a country’s food and drink. At least 58% of global travelers are also foodies searching for new and exciting cuisines. A significant part of any vacation is trying local foods and drinks. Some airlines accordingly provide the destination’s flavors in their meal offerings onboard the flight. In this case, meals are typically chosen based on the origin and destination.

Several Emirates aircraft in the morning at Dubai International Airport.

Photo: Emirates

For Example, Singapore Airlines and Dubai-based Emirates generally serve onboard meals based on the destination they’re flying to. A flight bound for Europe will likely have an English breakfast served, whereas a flight to India may offer ethnic South Asian foods. Asia seems to be a favorite among all travelers; Singapore tops this category, with up to three-fourths of people considering food and beverage a critical factor for visiting. India and Japan follow the list with 71% and 66%, respectively.

1 The weather

People affected when choosing travel destination: 60%

Top 3 countries
Canada 70%
United Kingdom 69%
United Arab Emirates 68%

While it may seem mundane, the number one factor on our list, indicating the most vital factor in selecting a vacation destination, is simply the local weather. According to 60% of global travelers, weather conditions would be enough to choose a different country when planning a trip. Air travelers generally aim to visit places where the weather is moderate.

A Jetstar Airlines Airbus A320 about to land.

Photo: John Mackintosh | Shutterstock

For example, Canadians like to get away from harsh winters to warmer coastal destinations in Central America. Similarly, people living in coastal areas may wish to travel to mountainous regions for vacation. Airlines schedule their routes based on summer and winter seasons, allowing numerous opportunities for people to explore places with different (primarily warm) weather.

It comes as no surprise that Canada is a top destination in this regard, with 70% of people considering the weather as the primary reason for visiting the country. The United Kingdom, another cool spot during winter, is number two with 69%, and the United Arab Emirates follows the list with 68%.

What are your thoughts on the most important factors that affect people’s destination choices when planning a vacation? What do you consider the most? Share your opinion in the comments section.

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