LOTUS CORONAVIRUS UPDATE (13.11)
VACCINE DEVELOPMENT UPDATE
The travel industry greeted the success of interim trial results from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer/BioNTech with caution as business through the winter will continue to be tough. But the stock market believed it provided a tangible step for long-term recovery and shares in travel companies jumped, reported Travelmole.
The experimental vaccine has been 90% effective in trials and medical regulators have previously said they would approve a vaccine even if it was only 50% effective.
As a result, IAG's stock ended Monday 9 November up 25% with easyJet up 35% and TUI rising 18%. Ryanair climbed a more modest 12% while travel companies such as Carnival Corporation and American Airlines sold stocks and shares to raise revenue, reports Travel Weekly.
Industry experts such as John DeVial from ABTA believed a roll-out of a vaccine and impact to the travel industry was unlikely to be seen until late spring or summer 2021.
However, airline and tour operators reported a surge in holiday enquiries as Britons began planning for post-vaccination life. Best at Travel said that they had had a 75% week-on-week surge in enquiries with bookings for December when lockdown restrictions are due to be eased in England, reported The Mail Online.
Miles Morgan Travel chairman Miles Morgan said: “This is a game-changing announcement. With news normal life could return in spring next year, [transport secretary] Grant Shapps talking about airport testing from December and mass testing in Liverpool, Monday was a seismic day.”
The Telegraph online also reported on a spike of bookings for ‘bucket-list’ experiences and long haul destinations, with top booking areas for winter holidays in 2021 being Mauritius, St Lucia and Grenada for Henbury Travel while for summer 2021, the Maldives, Dominican Republic, Mauritius and Mexico were top performers. Other tour operators said that Lockdown 2.0 was fuelling the desire for challenging expeditions and wilderness with increases in searches and enquiries for destinations such as Everest Base Camp, Antarctica, Mongolia and Namibia.
Last week The Daily Telegraph backed a travel industry campaign to unlock long haul destinations.
CO-ORDINATION AND COLLABORATION KEY TO RECOVERY
Tourism leaders met at the Evora Forum – A World for Travel on 5 November and agreed that government support, re-opened borders and coordination will be key to travel’s recovery.
- Travel will recover faster where governments protected the travel ecosystem like in France and Portugal and collaboration between the private sector and government will speed up recovery, said WTTC President and Chief Executive Gloria Guevara.
- The Secretary of State for tourism in Portugal told the forum: “International coordination is getting better, but we have to go further to enforce cooperation at the global level.”
- PATA chief executive Mario Hardy said: “Borders need to safely re-open. We need simple measures – testing, no quarantine, a digital health passport, vaccines when available and a set of protocols that are uniform across the world and easy to understand.”
Industry experts at World Travel Market’s Virtual Conference this week also agreed and added:
- Governments and regulatory bodies must work together to establish common rules around testing and Covid-19 vaccination, said Alan French, Chief Executive of Thomas Cook
- Technology could play a role to include health information in passports said John DeVial, Director of Financial Protection and Membership Services at ABTA
- Carrie Kwik, Executive Director Europe for the Singapore Tourism Board, said individual destinations must also establish their credentials to build confidence in travellers: “It’s about three things, the track record of how the destination has managed the pandemic, communication that is clear and timely and transparent, and the types of health and safety protocols that you have in the destination.”
UK MASS TESTING TO LEAD TO QUARANTINE FREE TRAVEL
A mass testing programme was launched in the city of Liverpool last week and there are plans to extend it to other parts of England, and to students around the UK before they return home for Christmas. Grant Shapps, the UK Transport Secretary said these rapid tests could "open the way" for quarantine-free air travel. He told the Airport Operations Association Conference that the government aimed to launch the "test and release" programme after England's lockdown ends - currently due to be 2 December.
"Beyond the lockdown, this should encourage many more people to book flights with confidence knowing there is an option that allows them to shorten self-isolation.”
The tests would be paid for by passengers arriving in the UK but the Department for Transport would not comment on how much they might cost, reports the BBC.
On Friday The Daily Mail reported that the government’s Global Travel Taskforce has reportedly recommended travellers returning from virus hotspots should be asked to quarantine for five days before being tested. They would then be released from self-isolation two days later provided the test is negative. Ministers are expected to sign off the new quarantine package within days in the hope that the testing regime can start from 2 December when Boris Johnson has pledged to end the second lockdown in England. Ministers are also expected to agree a package for a restart of the UK cruise industry from late January providing lines can demonstrate they have stringent testing and infection control measures in place.
INTERNATIONAL CO-ORDINATION ON TESTING
Tourism ministers at the WTM’s Minister’s Summit were united in their calls for widespread use of rapid-result Antigen tests to help the return of international travel.
The leaders agreed for a need for universal travel protocols to allow for a uniform restart of global tourism and to reduce confusion among the travelling public. Harry Theoharis, Minister of Tourism for Greece, agreed there was “no coordination” internationally on testing and said it led to “confusion” among travellers which was putting them off booking future travel despite pent-up demand.
In a separate WTM session, John Grant, director of JG Aviation Consultants, told delegates that efforts to introduce airport testing for Covid-19 have been “a shambles” and the UK government needs to work with other countries to find a solution allowing international travel to resume successfully. “The UK government has to realise it’s a global issue – they have got to talk to others. We’ve not grasped the magnitude of the value that aviation provides to an island economy.”
LUFTHANSA LAUNCHES TRIAL TESTING
From Thursday 12 November, passengers flying between Munich and Hamburg on Lufthansa will be offered the opportunity to take a free antigen test.
Those who do not wish to be tested will be placed on an alternative flight at no additional cost, reports TTG.
IATA, the aviation industry association, reports that the surge in Covid-19 infections and lockdowns across Europe has knocked aviation industry efforts to convince governments to move rapidly to testing travellers, reports Travel Weekly. The association has been urging governments to introduce rapid pre-departure tests for international air passengers. Europe is in the lead and the sole international air market to show signs of recovery this summer, but “the major obstacle is to give solid confidence to governments, who implement travel restrictions, that we can implement a safe process – to guarantee that the test process is absolutely safe.” However, existing antigen tests are less sensitive to detecting Covid-19, particularly in cases of asymptomatic infection.
De Juniac explained: “When we launched a proposal for pre-departure testing we said tests should meet criteria for sensitivity, cost and speed.”
IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac said: “What has to be approved by health authorities and governments is both the test and the protocol for testing.”
“Whatever type of test we talk about we have to have a safe process. We are pretty confident we will have health authorities recognise the process, but the process has to be safe.
GLOBAL TRAVEL TASKFORCE
Transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the government’s Global Travel Taskforce will make recommendations on a Covid-test regime for travellers “very soon as promised” at the Airport Operators’ Association (AOA) online conference on Monday. Shapps said a “test and release” scheme would be rolled out “once we emerge from lockdown”.
The World Health Organisation is partnering with Estonian officials to help open up global travel and prevent unequal treatment once a vaccine against Covid-19 has emerged. As one of the world’s most digitised nations, the WHO is working with Estonia to create digital vaccination certificates proving international passengers have had a coronavirus shot and helping to distribute vaccines to priority groups first.
AIR CORRIDOR UPDATES
EIGHT DESTINATIONS ON AIR CORRIDOR LIST
On Thursday night the UK Government announced that eight destinations have been added to the quarantine-free travel corridors list: Bahrain, Chile, Iceland, Cambodia, Laos, UAE, Qatar and Turks & Caicos Islands. If passengers arrive from these countries after 4am on Saturday 14th November they will not need to self-isolate. The travel ban on Denmark has been extended for a further 14 days.
The Government also announced that they will remove all of Greece apart from Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos and Kos from the Travel Corridor list.
These changes do not change the current Lockdown 2.0 travel restrictions.
The Telegraph hailed the moves as a victory for its Unlock Long Haul campaign saying that it gives Britons more post-lockdown holiday options, particularly for winter with the addition of the UAE.
Chile has been granted the first travel corridor in Latin America. It is not currently welcoming foreign arrivals, but plans to reopen its borders in early December to tourists who take a test before departure. Danny Callaghan, LATA CEO said: “We are delighted that Chile has been added to the travel corridors list.
“Of course we still have the lockdown in place and Chile’s borders are still closed to non-residents (with some special permits available for those with family members in Chile) however at LATA we understand that Chile’s borders will be reopening up to non-residents from 23 November which means that travel to the country can resume soon, especially given the direct flight from London Heathrow to Santiago, Chile with British Airways.
“It is worth noting that many other destinations in Latin America, also have similar (and indeed lower) infection rates so we hope that this is the first step for the region and many other destinations will soon be added to the list.”
While Covid-19 cases continue to rise in England, it is understood that the infection rate is now below one, which means that the end of the second wave could be in sight.
The government of Northern Ireland has agreed to extend Covid-19 restrictions. The five-party executive agreed to delay the reopening of cafes and close-contact services such as hairdressers by a week and the reopening of bars and restaurants serving alcohol by two weeks.
Garry Clark, of the Federation of Small Businesses, said that Scottish companies were facing “uncertainty upon uncertainty” and that the absence of tourists, office workers and events such as the Edinburgh Festival had “hollowed out” cities.
Wales came out of its 17-day ‘fire-break’ or short lockdown on Monday 9 November and non-essential retailers in Wales were allowed to re-open. Travel agencies in Wales said they were optimistic about trading, reported Travel Weekly and reported strong demand on their first day back trading on the high street.
International tourist arrivals to Spain fell 87% year-on-year in September, data showed last week.
Over the first nine months of the year, 16.8 million foreign tourists visited Spain, around 75% fewer than in the same period of 2019, the National Statistics Institute (INE) said. This is less than a quarter of the number of visits during the same period in 2019.
Visitors to Spain will need negative Covid test
To travel to Spain from 23 November, holidaymakers must provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure and will be compulsory for all arrivals from high-risk countries, including the UK, from 23 November. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) currently considers every major European country high-risk, except Norway, Finland and Greece, reports Travelmole.
The Andalucia region announced at WTM that it hopes to offer tourists free Covid-19 insurance to encourage confidence and drive arrivals in 2021. Tourists would need to book accommodation regulated by the regional government such as hotels, apartments, guest houses, pensions and camp sites and then fill out a form to be covered for medical, surgery, pharmacy, repatriation and up to 15 days extension of stay for quarantine purposes.
The Government of the Balearic Islands is prepared to carry out tests for UK tourists arriving in the Balearics, President Armengol announced at a press conference at WTM this week, reports the Majorca Daily Bulletin.
The president added that the government's preference would be for tourists to arrive with evidence of a recent negative test. But if they don't, tests will be available on arrival.
Tourism minister Iago Negueruela said in order to resume the safe return of tourists, it was intensifying health security and will reinforce its commitment to quality, family tourism and on the elimination of "tourism of excesses". Negueruela added that the government is forecasting 11% economic growth in 2021 and a normalisation of tourism in 2022.
20% of all UK visitors to Spain go to the Balearics and British tourism is essential to the archipelago’s economy - tourism accounting for 35% of the islands’ GDP. The impact of the pandemic represented a 40% drop in GDP in the archipelago.
The Italian government has imposed tighter restrictions on another five regions. Seven out of Italy’s 20 regions are now ‘orange zones’, signifying medium-high risk, after a new decree signed by the health minister, Roberto Speranza. Over the past week, Italy has continually recorded high infection rates, on a par with early April. At World Travel Market, the country pledged to further embrace sustainability and to increase its focus on authentic and local experiences
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa imposed localised night-time curfews from Monday to contain the spread of the coronavirus as the number of cases reached a record high. He said failing to do everything that could be done would lead to “more restrictive measures and compromise the month of December.”
REST OF THE WORLD
Infection rates are continuing to set records in the US and economic recovery is stalling reports Reuters.
The new President is expected to rejoin the Paris Agreement and commit to ambitious efforts to combat climate change, which is expected to lead to more rigorous travel policies, reports Skift.
In addition, he has committed to extending more relief to airline and hotel workers who have been furloughed or laid off as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and he's pledged to reverse the ban on travel to the United States from 13 mostly Muslim countries, reports USA Today.
Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge has confirmed that Australia is working towards reopening its borders for international travellers “slowly, but safely”, reports Travel Daily.
There is already a bubble with New Zealand with no quarantine needed and there are some allowances for temporary skilled workers. But the country is working with Singapore and other Asia-Pacific countries such as Japan, Fiji and Thailand to establish quarantine-free travel.
Australians may be able to spend and enjoy overseas holidays in 2021. A travel ban has been imposed since 20 March and residents are required to secure an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs to leave the country.
According to new procedures, announced by Abu Dhabi all residents and visitors entering the emirate from 8 November 2020 must undergo a nasal swab (PCR) test on the fourth day of their stay. This test is mandatory for those who are staying in the emirate for four consecutive days or more. The update obliges residents and visitors to undergo additional tests in the emirate based on their period of stay, reports Travel Daily.
The Jamaica tourism board has branded the England lockdown as “devastating” for travel to the Caribbean and called on UK agents to continue to promote the country to customers, reports Travel Weekly.
Japan is reporting growing cases of Covid-19 – a possible third wave – which could see plans to reopen borders to tourists shelved. The country had been shifting towards easing restrictions to boost its economy such as promoting domestic travel as it prepares for next year’s postponed Olympics, reports The Daily Telegraph blog.
South Africa has announced that it will open its international borders to all nations, meaning Britons will be able to visit from 12 November.
International travel will still be subject to strict health protocols. Travellers must present a negative Covid-19 test dating no less than 72 hours before departing their country of origin. Failure to do so will result in the traveller having to quarantine upon arrival at their own cost, reports Travel Weekly.
Consumer body Which? reports that British Airways and easyJet are refusing to adhere to EU guidance and refund passengers who were issued vouchers when their flights were cancelled due to the pandemic.
While Ryanair says its vouchers can be refunded at any time, BA and easyJet insist that once issued, their vouchers cannot be exchanged for cash. And if passengers don’t use them by the time they expire, they’ll lose their money, Which? warned.
BA and easyJet have also said that they will not be offering refunds for flights that operate as scheduled, meaning many passengers will only have the option of rebooking their flight to a later date if they cannot fly due to Lockdown 2.0.
Ryanair has also said it will not offer refunds for flights that are not cancelled while passengers are in Lockdown 2.0, reports Travel Weekly.
In the meantime, On The Beach reported that it has paid out a total of £160 million in customer refunds for cancelled holidays since the start of the pandemic in March. Money received from airlines for cancelled flights has reached £79 million. But the company is still awaiting £11 million where it has refunded flight costs in advance of receipt.
Chief Executive of lastminute.com Marco Corradino renewed criticism of airlines for withholding refunds for cancelled flights during the Covid crisis, saying the way carriers had acted was “totally illegal”.
ECONOMIC OUTLOOK HEADLINES
The UK's economy rebounded from recession in July to September, but growth showed signs of slowing down at the end of the three months, reported the BBC.
Growth of 15.5% in July to September was the biggest on record, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It came after a six-month slump induced by the first coronavirus lockdown.
However, growth was weaker in September than in the preceding months, while the country's economy is still 8.2% smaller than before the virus struck.
The economy had shrunk in the first three months of the year and then contracted by a record 19.8% in the April-to-June period. Two consecutive three-month periods of contraction are generally defined as a recession.
Analysts warned that it was likely to shrink again in the final three months of the year because of the impact of renewed lockdowns in different parts of the country.
But the economy is likely ‘to recover by the summer’ if a vaccine can help get life back to normal.Analysts suggested that GDP may return to pre-pandemic levels as soon as the middle of 2021. Those that produced a number of scenarios said their ‘upside’ projections now appeared more likely, with Capital Economics saying unemployment was likely to peak at 7pc next year and not 9pc, and that GDP may rise to its pre-pandemic level a year earlier than otherwise, in 2022.
Deloitte is kicking off talks with potential buyers of its British restructuring business amid expectations of a surge in activity triggered by swathes of coronavirus-inspired insolvencies. One insider said the global firm had ordered a strategic review of the UK restructuring arm, which culminated in the decision this week to allow talks about a sale to get underway.
Nearly one fifth of UK small and medium-sized enterprises believe that they will be unable to survive a second lockdown, according to a new report from small business insurer Simply Business. 17% of SMEs think they will be forced to close their doors for good as the economy shuts down for the second time. While 32% said they would be impacted worse than the first lockdown but would survive.
AIR PASSENGER DUTY AND STATE AID
A cross-party group of MPs and peers have joined airlines and airports in demanding a 12-month abolition of Air Passenger Duty. The group wants to see the tax scrapped for a year, claiming the country risked losing almost half the air routes that could be otherwise saved and 8,000 jobs, reports Travel Weekly. The Labour Party has challenged those demands. Jim McMahon, Labour shadow Transport Secretary, said he disagreed with calls for the Treasury to forego tax revenue after spending so much to combat the Covid crisis.
McMahon told an Airport Operators Association (AOA) online conference: “The Treasury will be under such financial pressure that calling for it to forego tax revenue is the one area I disagree with the association.” AOA chief executive Karen Dee told McMahon the industry’s call to suspend APD is “one mechanism to rebuild connectivity” and stimulate demand.
The Airport Operators Association conference also heard how it had written to the prime minister warning of closures, restrictions on operating hours and further job cuts following eight months of financial losses since the first lockdown in March and that it had issued a fresh plea to Boris Johnson for “urgent support” due to the effective closure of aviation from the second Covid lockdown in England.
The European Airports Association ACI Europe has also called for urgent state aid for airports and urged the European Commission to adopt an EU Recovery Framework for Aviation. ACI Europe has previously warned “close to 200 airports” are near to insolvency.
RENEWED CAPACITY DECISIONS
Airlines such as Virgin Atlantic and airports have revised their timetables and devised lockdown schedules. EasyJet said it expected to fly no more than 20 per cent of its planned capacity in the first three months of next year as a result of the pandemic and lockdown announcements in England, France and Germany. Previously it had expected to fly 25 per cent of its capacity. Ryanair said it would run at 40% capacity over winter months.
NORWEGIAN AIR FIGHTS FOR SURVIVAL
The Norwegian industry minister has rejected Norwegian Air’s application for further funding. As a result, an additional 1,600 staff will be placed on furlough and the fleet cut to just six aircraft and a dozen domestic services as the loss-making budget carrier seeks alternative solutions in its fight for survival. TTG reported that the airline faced a very uncertain future.
Greek-based airline Aegean has announced new hygiene attendants for its flights. The new staff will bear a special insignia and will assist passengers to follow all safety measures while boarding, in flight and during disembarkation.
EMIRATES & ETIHAD
Emirates Airline has offered some pilots unpaid leave of up to one year and Etihad is restructuring its senior management team as the Gulf carrier continues to make a transformation into a “mid-sized, full-service” carrier.
Meanwhile, Emirates has offered to act as a global distribution network for the Covid-19 vaccine from its Dubai hub. The airline’s president, Sir Tim Clark, said the carrier had a pharmaceutical distribution hub already established in Dubai that had been used to transport medical and PPE equipment during the pandemic, reports TTG.
In its traffic report for October 2020, Heathrow reported the following and was critical of the government throughout:
- Traffic was down 82% yoy - the eighth consecutive month of catastrophic decline and with the current travel ban, “November is likely to be even worse.”
- Long-haul and critical markets for trade suffered the worst declines due to the Government's debilitating quarantine requirements.
- North America the UK's biggest export market has been hardest hit by the downturn.
- UK's aviation industry is essential to the supply chain of temperature-sensitive, time-critical goods like vaccines - 41% of the UK's pharmaceutical supplies are imported via Heathrow alone.
- Heathrow is offering Oxford LAMP rapid Covid-19 tests to passengers travelling to other countries, but these are not yet approved for UK arrivals.
- The lack of a testing regime has left British airports unable to compete with EU rivals, the refusal to offer English and Welsh airports business rates relief runs the risk of worsening an already challenging situation and the plans to end VAT-free shopping threatens to kick our industry when its down.
Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said: "Aviation is the lifeblood of the UK's economy, critical for exports of goods and services and imports of vaccines, as well as inbound tourism, students and foreign direct investment. Lack of government action is weakening our sector, making it harder for us to support the eventual economic recovery and help deliver the Prime Minister's vision of a global Britain.
Simon English of The Evening Standard, Senior City Correspondent said: “I can’t remember a time when business was so fed up, so disdainful, of the government. A slight problem seems to be that the government doesn’t care.”
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has said that he expects the airline’s passenger numbers to return to 75% to 80% of pre-pandemic levels next summer. He also that he expected to see a surge in tourism as soon as travel restrictions are lifted. However, he warned that the winter period would be a “write-off” for the industry, saying that it would be a case of trying to rescue as much business as possible over Christmas. O’Leary has also been quoted as saying: he does not want the government to give airlines a bailout to survive the lockdown as airlines need to rely on their own money and their shareholders to get through the pandemic.
The leisure airline Jet2 is planning to operate a new three-aircraft base and launch routes to 33 destinations from Bristol, which is its 10th base in the UK, reports Routes Online.
JetBlue will launch its long-anticipated London transatlantic service in 2021, despite the ongoing challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis in the US and Europe. CEO Robin Hayes promised the airline would “disrupt” the transatlantic market by offering “a much cheaper way of flying between the UK and the US”.
TRAVEL COMPANIES UPDATE
ABTA reported at World Travel Market:
- It had 20 members fail since the pandemic and the fear is there will be more without targeted support, said the CEO Mark Tanzer
- The furlough scheme doesn’t meet travel agents’ needs
- Domestic travel is not a substitute for international travel
- Redundancies are estimated to have risen with 164,000 people either put out of work or having their jobs put at risk in the travel and wider industries
- Firms expect bookings from October to the end of 2020 to be 93% down compared to the same time last year
- As many as 91% of holidays in July and August were changed or cancelled due to restrictions despite the opening of travel corridors
- A vaccine will go some way to restoring consumer confidence in booking future travel plans, but travel businesses need help now
- A third (36%) of businesses have not yet resumed active operations since the national lockdown
- Government policy has stood in the way of a recovery, the association argues, with sectors like school travel and cruise closed altogether
- ABTA companies report taking 45% of the bookings for summer 2021 that they would have expected to have taken at this point in the booking cycle. Although far behind normal, this is seen as an improvement on near-term bookings
Dnata’s travel division saw its revenue slump by 95% due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its operations, TTG reports, but the group, owned by Emirates, is anticipating a steep recovery in travel demand. Dnata’s two B2B brands Gold Medal and Travel 2 are currently going through a merger process that will eventually see them operate under the Gold Medal banner.
Expedia Group reported improved financial results in a third quarter update for the period ending 30 September.
The travel giant said travel remains “significantly impacted” by Covid-19 but that the three-month period did see increased travel while it continued to cut costs.
A collapse in business travel has contributed to a slower recovery in Expedia’s B2B division which was 72% down year on year.
However, there was positive news from its alternative accommodation brand Vrbo, which saw growth in the third quarter in both room nights booked and revenues per room night.
For the third quarter of 2020, total gross bookings decreased 68% and total revenue decreased 58%, reported Travolution.
ON THE BEACHOn The Beach saw booking volumes down 75% and 53% respectively in the third and fourth quarters of its financial year, which ended on 30 September, due to travel restrictions and low levels of consumer confidence, reports Travel Weekly.
Cancellation rates, which hit more than 90% across the summer, are expected to continue at the same levels over the winter.
This led to further exceptional costs of £10 million across the April to September period – a figure now expected to hit £45 million for the full year.
HOSPA, the hospitality professionals' association, is running a new campaign: Sleepover to help Turnover with deals of up to 35% off. The Daily Star reported that 100 hotels are taking part.
TRENDS & CUSTOMER SENTIMENT
LONDONERS TO LEAD TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF EUROPE, REGARDLESS OF VACCINE
With news of success with vaccine trials, the UK Travel Intelligence Report, the new body of research into travel in the Covid era, revealed that 75% of Londoners are happy to travel outside of Europe before the Covid vaccine is introduced, whilst 29% of the UK population will wait until the vaccine is available.
In addition, 34% of UK travellers say they would travel to a destination where travel restrictions advise against visiting, if they “felt safe” or if the offer was attractive enough. People in Wales, followed by those in Northern Ireland, are the most resistant to good offers and will follow the FCO advice with 79% and 73% respectively not travelling to a destination despite a luring offer. 44% of Londoners however, would.
In terms of holiday type, Covid has taken its toll on the cruise industry and all-inclusive hotels. Over a third of the UK population will be cruising less and over a fifth are no longer looking to book all-inclusive resorts.
The new research also demonstrates the increasing interest in special travel insurance, protecting against Covid-related cancellation and illness, with 76% looking to purchase or use. Likewise, anticipated domestic travel has seen an increase of 24% with the same percentage requiring accommodation with its own cooking facilities. As a result of the pandemic, 30% of people from Wales are now more likely to drive to their holiday destination compared to 18% of those from London.
Key findings include:
- 68% of people said Covid had impacted the way in which they will travel in the future
- 29% of the UK population expect to travel abroad less
- 32% of the UK population will travel within Europe when a vaccine is available
- 42% of the UK population will travel within Europe in the next 12 months regardless of a vaccine
- 26% of the UK population will travel outside of Europe in the next 12 months regardless of a vaccine
The UK Travel Intelligence Report is the only UK benchmarking survey for 100+ destinations.
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Latest official figures for overseas travel in April to June highlights the impact Covid-19 has had on the industry.
The Office for National Statistics revealed a 96% collapse in outbound travel to 939,000 in the second quarter of the year over the same three months in 2019.
The fall, directly blamed on the pandemic, saw spending on trips abroad drop by 98% to £402 million.
The figures are based on “administrative sources and modelling” as the regular International Passenger Survey was suspended in March as the pandemic hit.
“In Quarter 2 2020, there were 617,000 holidays; this decreased by 96% when compared with a year previously.
“Visits to friends or relatives decreased by 96% to 219,000, while business visits decreased by 97% to 87,000.”
Wanderlust Magazine surveyed its readers during the first week of November to gauge their sentiment towards travelling. The survey was done before the announcement of a vaccine and readers still saw themselves travelling in 2021, with a growing number prepared to quarantine if need be.
The readership remains passionate about travel and looks forward to travelling once again. The majority are looking to book a trip in 2020. Even those looking at 2021 are more likely to book this year.
- Almost all respondents see themselves travelling in 2021; 39% in the spring and another 42% in the summer
- 44% will still travel even if they have to quarantine
- 75% are prepared to pay for a private test
- Only 16% are feeling cautious about when and where to travel
- Confidence in small group tours is growing again
- While domestic and short haul lead the way in the short term, long haul travel is back on the agenda, up 30% from July's survey
Whilst short haul leads the way in the short term, there is evidence of long haul trips returning in 2021 and as the world opens up we will see far more pick up.
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