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UK Moves from Stay Home to Stay Alert in week 7 of Lock-down

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

Since last weeks update much has happened in the UK and Worldwide including the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, the first lessening of the lock-down in the UK announced on Sunday, a return to work in France, Florence Nightingale’s’ 200th Birthday and Hong Kong re-opening restaurants all while observing social distancing as the UK moved into the new stage of being “Alert”.

A road-map was published this week following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a gradual lessening of the “Stay at Home" strategy to a 3 stage "Alert” strategy towards reopening England. This was not a green light for people to be travelling to another home for a holiday or to a second home. The plan only covered England as the other members of the UK are not ready for any change.

As the level of infection in the UK reduces, and the Government prepares for social contact to increase, it will be important to manage the risk of transmissions being reintroduced from abroad. Therefore, in order to keep overall levels of infection down and in line with many other countries, the Government will introduce a series of measures and restrictions at the UK border. This will contribute to keeping the overall number of transmissions in the UK as low as possible. The announcement of a 2 week self-isolation quarantine for all international arrivals came as a shock to airlines and the outbound travel industry.

Only in phase 3 of the plan is it envisaged that food service providers, pubs and accommodation will re-open, subject to meeting social distancing guidelines.

The UK and French Governments have published a joint statement that quarantine measures would apply to travellers coming from France and that any measures to restrict travel between the two countries will be taken in a concerted and reciprocal manner. While this is being undertaken to support cross-channel trade, it does have tourism implications. While we know we are unable at the moment to take holiday as the foreign office advice is to not travel.

More than 30,000 British travellers returned to the UK on 142 special Government charter flights from 27 different countries and territories since the outbreak of coronavirus.

Ahead of the celebrations for the 75th Anniversary of VE Day last weekend the BVA BDRC consumer sentiment survey data, collected 4th-5th May, saw the overall national mood nudge back up to 6.7 equal to the high recorded two weeks previously. There is a growing divergence between when people think they will travel again on holiday in the UK as compared to going on an international trip. With the easing of the lock-down set to be slow and gradual, for the next 6 months at least, increasingly we anticipate an emerging theme will be to stay local and support local businesses. For the first time in 7 weeks of tracking, more people think the worst is now behind us than think the worst remains ahead of us. The plurality (43%) believe that things are going to stay the same over the next few weeks.

On financial mind-sets BVA BDRC recorded the most positive results so far, with 43% indicating either that they are either one of the lucky ones or at least alright – reasonably confident that the crisis will not affect their finances. The demographic make-up of this group is varied, but older people with no children at home are amongst those most likely to fall into these more fortunate categories.

There is better news for hotels, with lead-times shortening. For context though it is only 16% who expect to book a hotel room in the next 3 months, but this is as high at it has been in over a month. For international leisure, the picture remains less positive, with anticipated lead-times to planning / booking overseas holidays if anything moving backwards.

The UNWTO, this week, called on governments to work together to coordinate the easing and lifting of restrictions in a timely and responsible manner, when it is deemed safe to do so. Tourism is a lifeline to millions, especially in the developing world. Opening the world up to tourism again will save jobs, protect livelihoods and enable the sector to resume its vital role in driving sustainable development.

COVID-19 has placed the whole world on lock-down, with new research from the World Tourism Organization showing that 100% of global destinations continue to have restrictions on travel in place, and 72% have completely closed their borders to international tourism. From the start of the crisis, the United Nations specialized agency for tourism has been tracking responses to the pandemic. This latest research shows that while discussions on possible first measures for lifting restrictions are underway, 100% of destinations worldwide still have COVID-19 related travel restrictions for international tourists in place. Out of all 217 destinations worldwide, 156 (72%) have placed a complete stop on international tourism according to the data collected as of 27 April 2020. In 25% of destinations, restrictions have been in place for at least three months, while in 40% of destinations, restrictions were introduced at least two months ago. Most importantly, the research also found that no destination has so far lifted or eased travel restrictions. A coordinated and planned reopening strategy was also called for by the WTTC in their new report.

Other developments included:

  • Canary Islands to pioneer 'digital health passport'

  • Spain to impose two-week quarantine on all new arrivals

  • Hays Travel 'seeing strong winter 2020/21 demand'

  • Haven extends holiday park closures into July

  • Carnival consulting UK staff over potential job cuts

  • Virgin to place summer 2021 flights on sale to 24 destinations from Heathrow

  • Etihad to restore regular London-Melbourne service

  • BA & Qatar are given the green light for co-sharing flights from Australia to Europe

  • Emirates announce flights will resume to Australia and Europe

  • Lufthansa negotiates €9 billion rescue plan, Germany wants 25 per cent equity stake and presence on company's board

  • Ryanair to restore 40 per cent of flights from July, planning to operate 1,000 flights a day across 90 per cent of its network

  • China leads global air capacity growth this week with 1 million seats added to Chinese domestic market since last week

  • Branson to sell Virgin Galactic to prop up travel business, seeking to raise US$500 million for Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays

  • Germany’s national government agreed that ‘Messen’ (exhibitions) are on list of activities explicitly listed as possible, rather than being classed as mass gatherings, which remain banned until the end of August. This means tradeshows could run again in principle.

  • China’s first major exhibition took place in Hunan Province last week,

Ongoing Updates:

To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the UK COVID-

To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard -

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