Last week the UK government announced which destinations would be on the ‘green list’ of countries we can visit from Monday 17th May. For those hoping for a long overdue holiday abroad, the list may have been underwhelming. Twelve countries made the cut, with Portugal, Australia and Iceland perhaps the most appealing inclusions.
Shortly after, YouGov found that just 5% of Brits have booked a holiday abroad this year. This is dwarfed by the 20% who have already booked a holiday within the UK for 2021. While it’s still early days, and there’s hope that more countries will be added to the ‘green list’ in the coming months, this is not yet the overseas holiday boom which some may have hoped for. In fact, online travel agent On The Beach has stopped selling all overseas holidays until September, even to ‘green list’ countries.
So, even though over 35 million of us have now received a coronavirus vaccine, why are we still so hesitant to go abroad? According to YouGov, it’s not a changed travel experience which is the biggest issue (38%). Rather, almost half claim that the financial costs of having to do COVID-19 tests is a barrier for them going abroad. Similarly, 44% claim it’s the financial cost of travel. This ties in with the7stars’ recent thought leadership piece, The Experience Economy Rebound, which considered the paradox between our openness to experience holidays again and the financial difficulties the pandemic has brought.
Although this may seem all negative, there’s some conclusions to be drawn. Firstly, it’s evident that the UK tourism industry is again likely to benefit at the expense of overseas holiday destinations. After a boom in the second half of 2020, we can expect to see staycations remain the go-to holiday option for most Brits. Whether the Lake District, Cornwall or Brighton, businesses in popular tourist spots can expect to see heavy footfall in the coming months.
In addition, it’s clear that many Brits are still feeling the financial squeeze of the pandemic. Although images of busy shops and pubs have become commonplace over the last month, financial insecurity still lingers for many. For brands hoping to reach consumers as they embrace the new frontiers of freedom, it’s worth bearing in mind that many may not yet feel ready to indulge.
the7stars, ‘The Experience Economy Rebound’