A YouGov poll conducted between 29 June and 9 July revealed the continuing unwillingness of many people on the one hand to travel abroad and on the other to allow in foreign tourists. The picture is inevitably complex. For example, Only Italians were broadly supportive of allowing in other Europeans – with the exception of Britons – although they are heavily opposed to allowing in Chinese and American tourists. People in France, Spain, Italy and Germany are all more likely to oppose British tourists coming for this summer than they are tourists from other European countries. However, people across Europe tend to be most worried by American and Chinese tourists,. American tourists are the most opposed in all countries surveyed (except Sweden where they come second to Chinese tourists, and Finland where they come second to Swedes). Overall, 61-79% of people in each country surveyed oppose allowing American tourists spending time in their country this summer.
On its website, YouGov headlines its report of the survey findings “Stay away, Europeans tell British tourists.” Certainly, Britain is perceived differently from other European countries, not surprising given its imminent exit from the European Union. The UK is no different. In the absence of quarantine on arrival over 40% of British respondents ant Spanish, French, German and Danish tourists to say away, over 50% want Italians and Swedes to stay away. 72% want Chinese visitors to stay away, and 76% want Americans to remain at home.
The YouGov researchers point out that their survey evidence reports that “across Europe and America people are generally opposed to allowing in foreign tourists, although this depends on the country.” While in most countries, American and Chinese visitors are least welcome British tourists follow close behind. 40-54% of Spaniards oppose tourists coming from a clutch of European nations; this figure rises to 61% for British tourists. In France, the figure is 55% compared to 32-46% for other European countries’ tourists. In Italy, it is 44% vs 29-38%, and in Germany, it is 58% vs 34%-52%.”
Asked about their willingness to travel 40% or more of British respondents said that because of coronavirus they would not consider visiting China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy or Sweden. 53% would not consider travelling to America. The authors of the research report point out that “Only 5-20% of people in the other countries studied said they were considering spending time in Britain this summer. Again, around four in ten or more say that coronavirus is keeping them away.”
The polling evidence is available in detail on YouGov’s website.
Of course, different market segments have different perceptions of risk. Politicians and policymakers in many destinations have thought about attracting more responsible tourists who would have less negative impacts. But young party tourists are likely to be less concerned about Covid-19. As Magaluf reopened drunk British holidaymakers were not wearing masks and jumping on cars’ One angry local raged on social media: “Total chaos in Punta Bellena. Hundreds of sons of b*ches from Great Britain. No face masks on, jumping on top of cars, drunk, drinking alcohol in the street. A disaster. Where’s the police? A fking disgrace.”
The anti ‘trash tourism’ decree approved in January was intended to restrict the promotion and sale of alcohol in specific areas of the Balearic Islands including Magaluf and San Antonio on neighbouring Ibiza. The legislation requiring bars to close at 02:00 appears to have fueled the ugly behaviour. The local council has responded by closing the strip in Magaluf for two months.