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Tourism 2021 – What changes we will see within the industry

The tourism industry has been helpless throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The industry that brought us closer together by making travel and tourism easy and affordable is useless: in comparison to a virus that demands us to shelter in one place.

Seeing how coronavirus has affected tourism is difficult, as the data changes as quickly as the virus spreads. However, we are able to look at the most recent reports and gather a strong understanding of how Brits have been coping and adapting to the reduction of travel.

The World Travel and Tourism Council has projected that if the pandemic continues for several more months; a global loss of 75 million jobs and $2.1 trillion loss in revenue.

But there is a glimmer of hope. Now that the pandemic is reportedly under control and restrictions are being lifted. There are signs of recovery. In the latest VisitBritain Data, we have looked at where Brits have travelled. Both on their recent trips and how they plan to travel again once the restrictions have eased.

Another positive is that according to the VisitBritain Data, financial constraints have not impacted Brits as an impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We would assume that as the pandemic goes on, finances would get worse, but actually, it has got better with fewer people having financial issues. Meaning that the more money Brits have, the more likely they can go out / go on holiday.

Travel will start with UK holidays!

Elizabeth Monahan, spokesperson for had spoken out and said: "Tourism recovery typically begins locally, travellers tend to first venture out closer to home, and visit their local eateries, stay local for a weekend getaway or travel domestically before a robust demand for international travel returns.” Meaning that things will start slowly and Brits will stay closer to home – having said that, since the 1st of January 2020, on average that 25% have been on a UK holiday, whereas only 12% have been on an overseas break. Also, when it comes to Brits visiting their local eateries, 55% have said that they've visited a restaurant and 47% say they have gone to a pub or a club.

Brits prefered to go on a UK short break than a UK holiday or overseas

Short breaks in the UK have been a success due to consumers being worried about the financial futures of travel companies. Holidays within the UK are not only a financially safer options for most, but it’s also a less stressful option as you don’t have to worry about local health advice or the rules other countries have put in place.

Although 78% of Brits didn't go on a UK short break, out of the 22% who did, the most popular was only 1 short break. However, this changes depending on age, for example, 24% of 25-34-year-olds have been on at least 1 short-break, whereas only 8% of over 65-year-olds have been on a short break in the UK.

16-34-year-olds have definitely been the most adventurous, with (on average) 36% of them taking 1/2+ short-breaks since the pandemic. It comes as no surprise to see that 88% of over 55's have been on no short breaks in the UK throughout COVID-19.

[Source: VisitBritain COVID-19 Tracker, Week 20]

The UK public are going on less UK holidays than UK short breaks

On average, 86% of Brits haven’t been on a holiday (4+ nights) in the UK, which is 6% more than those who have been on a short break in the UK.

The same pattern continues with 16-34-year-olds doing the most amount of travelling - on average 45% have been on 1/2+ UK holidays, despite the Government guidelines on not to travel that prevailed at times.

[Source: VisitBritain COVID-19 Tracker, Week 20]

25-34-year-olds have had the most amount of overseas short breaks

In this instance, travelling overseas for a short break could be noticed as quite unnecessary. However, Brits have not completely ruled it out, although the majority of consumers have not travelled abroad since the beginning of the pandemic, 8% of Brits have.

Surprisingly, the main contributors are 25-34-year-olds who have had the most overseas short breaks: 13% have been on one overseas short break and 5% having been on 2+, followed by 16-24-year-olds; with 8% having been on 1 short break and 8% been on 2+. This could be because they have the least number of commitments or more freedom to travel wherever and whenever and have perhaps less concerns about COVID-19.

It comes as no surprise that consumers over 45 aren’t travelling overseas for a short break in the sunshine.

[Source: VisitBritain COVID-19 Tracker, Week 20]

More Brits have been an overseas holiday (4+ nights), than short break (1-3 nights)

In comparison to an overseas short break, comsumers are more likely to pack there bags for a weeks long holiday. Since the outbreak of coronavirus the percentages for an overseas holiday have slightly increased - for all age groups. For example, only 96% of 55-year-olds haven't travelled overseas for a holiday, unlike, the 99% who never went on a short break.

Although these figures are still very low, more Brits are open to travel abroad for a holiday. Despite there being restrictions where people can and will travel, TUI have created a comprehensive tool to show where customers can still go on holiday with them - click here for more information.

[Source: VisitBritain COVID-19 Tracker, Week 20]

The South West was the most popular travel destination for Brits

Out of those that travelled, 21% stayed in the South West on their most recent trip (for example, Bristol, Bath, Devon, Cornwall), which was followed not so closely by 14% staying in the North West (for example, Manchester, Liverpool, Lake District) and then the South East (12%). These were the most popular destinations amongst Brits and the leading purpose of their most recent UK trip was for a holiday.

[Source: VisitBritain COVID-19 Tracker, Week 20]

Brits are in an uncertain situation. However, they can get into a car and drive for three hours and have their own place and stay for a short break or holiday instead of traveling overseas. The VisitBritain survey found that 57% of Brits anticipate that their prime mode of transport for their next trip will be a car (either their own / friends/family/company car): in comparison to the 5% who will travel by plane.

55-64-year-olds are most likely to be doing the most travelling (short breaks and holidays)

In the future, Brits are most likely to be going on a holiday (+4 nights), with 48% agreeing so and are looking to stay mostly in serviced accommodation (59%). Also, when asked whom are you likely to be spending your holiday with, 55% responded their partner, followed by children (27%) and other members of family/friends (16%).

Younger generations are more likely to be going on a holiday, whereas those aged 45-64 are most likely to be going on a short break for the next trip. Surprisingly those over 65 are most likely to be going on holiday despite COVID.

Overall, 55-64-year-olds will be going on the most short-breaks and holidays combined.

[Source: VisitBritain COVID-19 Tracker, Week 20]

July to September 2021 is the months tourism should boom!

As the months go by, we notice a slight increase from January (2%) to June (6%) in Brits booking holidays. However, this fails to peak until July to September (14%). July to Sep-tember should be the most popular time for Brits to travel.

16-24-year-olds are the first to be traveling again after Christmas and New Year, which is then taken over by 45-54-year-olds in February.

Despite the small percentage of Brits trying to travel, around 1/3 are not planning to travel at this point.

[Source: VisitBritain COVID-19 Tracker, Week 20]

As the months go by, Brits are feeling more confident to travel!

18-34-year-olds are the most confident to travel given the current circumstances; however, there is a gradual increase in confidence for all age groups as time passes. For April - June, for example, 48% are confident they will be able to travel.

However, Brits have disclosed reasons as to what contributes to them not being not very confident or not at all confident about taking a UK short break or holiday at all:

The main two contributing factors are 'concerns about the impact of travel' and 'restrictions on your trip': which are being put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. Interestingly, one of the top reasons is the impact of travel - this indicates that consumers are concerned about the ecological effect of travel: a trend that has been growing for years, albeit slowly. Because of this, we could see lower levels of traveling in the future than what we saw pre-2020 and that UK holidays may benefit from holidays abroad even in the longer term.

Despite there being restrictions where people can and will travel, TUI have created a comprehensive tool to show where customers can still go on holiday with them - click here for more information.

[Source: VisitBritain COVID-19 Tracker, Week 20]

Whether you need insight to adjust your strategies to the new normal or are thinking about launching new services, we can help you get it right. Emotional Logic is a specialist behavioural insight agency, and we offer a range of cost-effective research solutions to ensure your strategy connects with the constantly shifting needs of the consumer. Please get in touch for a free consultation.

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