Europeans are headed to the United States — here’s where they’re going

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When the U.S. announced plans to lift an 18-month-long travel ban in September, Europeans wasted no time making plans — particularly the Brits.

In the 24 hours that followed the Sept. 20 announcement, flights from London to New York City were searched 1.4 million times, according to the global travel technology company Travelport, making it the most popular U.S.-bound flight search of the day.

The route, however, didn’t achieve the most bookings that day.

Europeans booked the most seats on another route — London to Orlando — according to Travelport, which analyzes bookings made through travel agents and websites like Priceline and Booking.com.

This “underscores the return of leisure travel demand,” said Katie Cline, a senior director at Travelport.

A business travel rebound

The Sept. 20 announcement, which indicated early pandemic-era travel bans would be replaced by vaccination and Covid-testing protocols for international travelers, specified a start month — “early November” — but not an effective date.

That was enough to send leisure travelers straight to their computers, many of whom booked travel well into the future. Most of the early bookings to Orlando, Florida — home to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort — were for trips in the summer of 2022, said Cline.   

In the 24 hours that followed the Sept. 20 travel announcement, searches for flights from London to New York City averaged nearly 1,000 per minute.

Smithlandia Media | Moment | Getty Images

On Oct. 15, the Biden Administration announced the new rules would start on Nov. 8. That unleashed a torrent of business traveler bookings for trips before the year-end.    

“After the second announcement, corporate travel from London to New York has almost doubled,” said Cline.  

Hotel booking data from travel marketing company Adara supports this trend.

Adara | Booking period Sept. 1 to Nov. 8 | Travel period Nov. 8 to Jan. 9

European leisure and business travelers booked U.S. hotels at similar rates until mid-October. Thereafter business bookings soared.

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