Global travel search site Cheapflights.co.za reveals that there has been a steady growth of flight searches for the upcoming spring travel season since the beginning of August.
According to Laure Bornet, GM Kayak EMEA, which manages Cheapflights, last week searches exceeded pre-Covid levels by about 9% and grew by about 232% month over month.
"This Monday we saw a new record, with searches being up by about 32% compared to last week. And it seems to be the perfect time for a spring getaway as the average flight price is dropping. It's approximately 27% lower than last month and about 32% lower than for the same period in 2019," she said.
Bornet said the data also showed that South Africans were more interested in travelling locally, with about a 12% increase in domestic flight searches from 2019 to 2021.
"Trip lengths for domestic and regional travel have jumped too, showing that people are looking for longer breaks. Before the pandemic, South Africans allocated two weeks for exploring their own country and about 36 days for going overseas.
“Now, they are searching for domestic holidays with a 19 days span on average, and plan international trips for about 41 days on average. This could be connected to the fact that many destinations require travellers to take PCR tests and/or to be quarantined," said Bornet.
She noted that travellers were becoming less spontaneous and planning their trips well in advance.
"In 2019, people were exploring options for domestic trips around two weeks in advance, which in 2021 has jumped to 19 days in advance on average. Similarly, searches for international trips were previously done a month in advance, but searches are now done up to 40 days ahead of time.
"Data also shows us that flight prices for domestic and regional flights have lowered since 2019, compared to international flights that have increased in price by approximately 4% compared to 2019,“ she said.
Bornet urged travellers to check the current travel restrictions and official advisories of their chosen destination, before making any travel arrangements.