Covid-19 has demonstrated how dependent much of the tourism industry is on aviation. In Europe, many consumers have pivoted to take domestic trips. In theory, tourism destinations can attract their domestic market, but for the Least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States, this is rarely an option. Most of them remain very dependent on aviation for the viability of their tourism industry and to maintain the livelihoods the sector supports.
After the toughest year for the tourism industry, the inbound tourism forecast from VisitBritain shows signs of recovery. Specifically, they are predicting that inbound visits will increase by 73% from 2020 to 2021. #UK #Tourism https://t.co/QZPJBwdnt3 via @soglos pic.twitter.com/FrAOyGQ2dd— Dave Pflieger (@davidpflieger) January 1, 2021
A couple of weeks ago Visit Britian issued its inbound tourism forecast for 2020, the official inbound tourism statistics from the Office for National Statistics are not yet available. VisitBritain’s central scenario forecast for inbound tourism to the UK in 2020 is for a decline of 76% in visits to 9.7 million and a decline of 80% in spending to £5.7 billion. This would represent a loss vs the pre-COVID forecast of 32.3 million visits and £24.7 billion of spending.
VisitBritain’s 2021 forecast for inbound tourism in 2021 is for 11.7 million visits, up 21% in 2020 but only 29% of the 2019 level; and £6.6 billion to be spent by inbound tourists, up 16% on 2020 but only 23% of the 2019 level. With the UK government now planning for extensive quarantining and testing for all international arrivals this forecast may be optimistic.
The emergence of new Covid-19 variants that may, or may not, be more infectious, serious, or vaccine-resistant can only further reduce international tourism. The prospects for holidays for UK residents this year remain very uncertain.
Brits have been warned against booking ‘elaborate’ summer holidays as it’s ‘too early to say’ what coronavirus crisis will look like. https://t.co/pHe2AcQu7F— LBC (@LBC) February 9, 2021
England’s deputy chief medical officer warned on Monday that it was too soon to say to what extent people could begin to start planning summer holidays., Prof Jonathan Van-Tam said:
“The more elaborate your plans are for summer holidays, in terms of crossing borders, in terms of household mixing, given where we are now, I think we just have to say the more you are stepping into making guesses about the unknown at this point,” He explained, “I can’t give people a proper answer at this point because we don’t yet have the data. It is just too early to say.”
Stricter COVID-19 restrictions mean that global travel is difficult at the moment.— VisitBritain 🇬🇧 (@VisitBritain) November 5, 2020
However we’ll still be here to share the best of Britain with you and serve inspiration for 2021.
Take care, and we hope to see you soon. pic.twitter.com/vGzkKUMga2
Lockdown rules mean people must only travel abroad or domestically for essential reasons. Travelers leaving England are expected soon to be required to make a declaration on why they need to travel, which carriers will check prior to departure.
A return to business is still far off.