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UK Market Update - 3 months on

Since the past two weekends life appears to be returning to "normal" or at least looking at the traffic and people around Hampton Court.

Highlights from this week's Consumer Covid Tracker report are quietly positive:

  • 1 in 3 ‘Travel Activists’ plan to have a day out at an attraction by end of August.

  • Lead-times for staycations continue to shorten.

  • International holidays and flights see further shortening of lead-times.

  • There's net increase in cycling for both commuting and personal travel.

  • Business sentiment holds steady...but still trails the population as a whole.

  • Airlines fail to win public’s backing for legal action against the UK Government.

The UK is slowly easing out of lock down. At the end of last week shops were allowed to open and it was announced that the government had lowered the UK's covid-19 risk to level 3.

Today the government has announced that the tourism industry in England and some leisure facilities can re-open from 04 July along with an easing on the 2 m distancing rule to 1 m if required. Excellent news for England's tourism industry - hotels, self-contained accommodation, caravan parks, restaurants, cafe's. cinemas, hair salons, outdoor gyms and tourism attractions, including museums, galleries, theme parks, outdoor gyms and arcades, libraries, social clubs and community centres may all reopen as long as proper safety protocols are maintained. from 04 July. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are following at their own pace.

This week we await with bated breath the announcement by 29 June of the latest quarantine review. We all hope that quarantine will be lifted for those countries that are a lower-risk than the UK and who are providing adequate prevention protocol.

It is understood the government is working on air bridge agreements with around 10 European destinations to kick start outbound tourism this summer according to TTG.

As ABTA has stated, the travel industry is in a perilous situation. The UK Travel and Tourism industry represented 4 million jobs, 11% of our workforce in 2019, £200 billion to the economy and 11% of GDP (WTTC). Air-bridges will take time to put in place but with eurostar, eurotunnel and the existing reduced airline services the industry could still secure summer business. However, the MICE market is still predicting a return to overseas travel for q1 and 2 2021, but lead-in times are much longer.

The consumer's health is paramount and the industry respects that. There is no apparent medical evidence that border quarantine should not be lifted for low-risk countries. In fact we could argue that we would be safer spending time in a low-risk country. Above all the consumer must feel comfortable, safe and confident about travelling, they need clarity. Insurance companies have put travel insurance policies in place.

Watch this space ...... put your comments below about your own lock down easing.

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