It’s no surprise it’s so popular (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
When deciding where to go on holiday, many of us dream of white sandy beaches, glorious sunshine and a dip in crystal blue sea.
It’s perhaps no surprise then that Costa Rica was the most popular holiday destination of 2023.
With so much natural beauty, amazing wildlife and a climate that rarely drops below the mid 20Cs, the country has everything you’d want for an unforgettable trip.
Research by ForwardKeys analysed air tickets booked up until September 26 2023 – including flights scheduled to take off after this date.
Using 2019 – the last ‘normal’ year before the pandemic – they looked at countries that have seen the biggest growth in terms of tickets booked, to determine the most popular destinations.
Costa Rica tops the list, seeing a 19% growth from 2019, followed by the Dominican Republic (18%) and Colombia (14%).
Costa Rica is famed for its wildlife (Credits: Getty Images)
Seven of the top 10 countries have a Caribbean coastline, including Jamaica in fourth place, Puerto Rico in fifth, and Bahamas in ninth.
There was just one European country in the top ten list, Greece, which saw a 6% growth since 2019 – and an 11% growth since 2022.
It’s thought that Caribbean destinations have boomed post-pandemic, as many of us dreamt of jetting off to warmer climates when we Covid restrictions kept us at home.
But now, as tourism returns to pre-pandemic levels, countries will have to begin reconsidering their relationship with tourism.
Greece was the only European destination to make the list (Credits: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
ForwardKeys insights vice president Olivier Ponti said: ‘In 2023, many destinations and travel businesses remained focused on recovery post-Covid-19.
“The speed of that recovery has varied by region, but by the end of 2024, it will be complete, even for those countries that lifted travel restrictions most recently.
‘This brings destinations back to the issues they were dealing with pre-pandemic. Where do they want to go with tourism? What type of tourism? For what purpose? But while the questions persist, the context has changed, shaped by geopolitical events, technological advances and rising concerns about sustainability.
‘Growth at all costs’ is no longer viable. Destinations and travel businesses need to focus on new models of tourism which are socially, economically and environmentally responsible.’
The destinations that have seen the biggest growth since 2019:
Dominican Republic (18%)
Puerto Rico (14%)
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Holidaymakers opted for sandy beaches and sunshine.