Amsterdam-based Polarsteps, a travel planner and tracker app that aims to build a go-to place for travellers who want to plan, track, and remember their trips, announced on Thursday that it has reached a 4 million user milestone this month.
However, the company also reported that “travel is back, but not as we knew it”, with surprising travel trends being revealed among its intrepid users.
Polarsteps co-founder Maximiliano Neustadt says, “Travel stats have shown that the biggest destination recovery by far is within the Nordic nations, with figures for Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden all remarkably climbing to more than double what they were in the same period pre-Covid. Looking at the total numbers of travellers visiting destinations outside of Europe, the US is dominating the long-haul market, attracting more than three times as many visitors as any other country.”
Polarsteps’s global travel data
The Nordic countries had the biggest favourable changes, according to Polarsteps’ analysis of its worldwide travel statistics from travels taken by Dutch, German, French, Belgian, and British tourists in April and May 2022, and the same months in 2019.
The data reveals that Iceland’s numbers were up 184 per cent compared to pre-Covid, with Norway (154 per cent), Sweden (126 per cent), and Denmark (117 per cent) closely behind. And with thousands of the app’s users planning future travel within the app, Polarsteps can also see that this trend looks set to continue for at least the next nine months.
While no other region in Europe came anywhere close to these figures, many historically well-liked tourism locations, including France, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Croatia, have witnessed returns to at least pre-Covid levels. As did Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.
Maximiliano Neustadt says, “Despite two very tough years for the travel industry, we’ve grown with over a million new users and are already seeing record activity numbers across the board — we are now gearing up for our busiest summer yet. We are so thankful to see both new and existing users finding their way to our app to plan, track, and relive their travels, and see them exploring the world again.”
Data for outside Europe
Polarsteps states that the data indicates that North America has had the largest recovery, with statistics for both the US and Canada being within 20 per cent of pre-Covid levels. This has led to the US being the most popular foreign destination in April and May of 2022, along with sluggish recoveries in Asia, Africa, Australia, and South America. The information also indicates that this pattern is likely to continue, with more travels scheduled in the US than in any other nation in the near future.
The top five global destinations outside of Europe in terms of recovery (Apr-May 2019 to Apr-May 2022) were all in the western regions of the US and Canada. However, this was striking because, when Polarsteps focused on country-level destination data to more precise local figures, it found an even more focused trend from its Dutch travellers – nearly 40 per cent of Polarsteps’ users.
Top 5 destinations outside of Europe include:
1. Las Vegas (US)
2. San Francisco (US)
3. Los Angeles (US)
4. Vancouver (Canada)
5. Grand Canyon (US)
According to Polarsteps managing travel editor Matt Phillips, “The resurgence of travel to these iconic places in western North America should not come as a surprise given the diverse riches within each of them. For instance, the glittery adult playground of Las Vegas may be famed for its gaming, never-ending nightlife, and hedonism, but it’s equally rewarding as a springboard to natural wonders. And Vancouver’s sea-to-sky bounty of beaches, forests, and mountains is boosted by cosmopolitan culture, towering skylines, and mouthwatering cuisine. We’ve also found that our travel Guides to these destinations are proving more and more popular, with users embracing them to discover exciting new sides of these ever-evolving places.”
“Seeing the app growing faster than ever before and surging past the four million user milestone is a signal to us that the world is truly eager to travel again,” says Maximiliano Neustadt.
Founded in 2015 by Job Harmsen, Koen Droste, Maximiliano Neustadt, and Niek Bokkers, Polarsteps is a platform to plan, track, and relive trips. The company claims that its all-in-one travel app makes every part of the journey easier and enjoyable: from the very first spark of travel inspiration to reliving it when it’s all over and done.
Polarsteps app allows users to automatically record trips or vacations to share them with family and friends. In July 2021, the company launched Polarsteps Guides, a collection of the world’s best travel destinations and insider tips. The feature was created by experienced travel editors with the help of Polarsteps’ travellers. It allows travellers to spend less time seeking and more time turning travel dreams into travel realities. The first 60 Polarsteps Guides cover three countries: the Netherlands, France, and Germany. Polarsteps app is available for free to download in the App Store and Google Play store.