The UK Government has announced that outbound tourists will have to make a declaration proving their journey is for essential purposes.
If successful, inbound UK residents will be faced with a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine when returning from 22 high risk countries including South Africa, Portugal and South American nations.
With no end-date in sight for the new travel restrictions on both outbound and inbound travel, a rapid surge in outbound travel for Summer 2021 is highly unlikely. Fear of quarantine requirements is the main factor deterring people from traveling, followed closely by travel restrictions. There is a strong need to quarantine when returning to the UK from these destinations, which currently is an obstacle for the UK.
Recent UK COVID-19 surveys found that in December, UK respondents were the most confident in traveling internationally since June 2020. Operators such as TUI, Jet2, and easyJet declared an uptick in holiday bookings for spring and summer 2021, yet, with major restrictions on outbound travel and the launch of mandatory quarantine, major headwinds are approaching.
Outbound travel will be further decimated as tourists have to make a declaration proving their journey is essential – the desire for a sun and beach getaway after a near year in lockdown will hardly be essential. It has now become clear that the first half of 2021 will not mark the beginning of travel’s recovery and the short-term outlook seems bleak.