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UK domestic tourism down 22% due to COVID-19

UK domestic tourism down 22% due to COVID-19
Written by Harry S. Johnson

As the UK’s domestic tourism industry prepares to reopen on July 4, total UK domestic tourism trips are set to drop by 22% this year from 122.2 million in 2019 to 95 million in 2020.

The UK travel and tourism industry has taken a real battering due to the impacts created by COVID-19 and may not recover quickly with a massive hole in consumer confidence due to safety concerns. Undoubtedly some businesses will manage to get back on their feet but many others will not survive.

As with the earlier opening up of the UK high street we expect a rush of interest and a spike in bookings. This expectation has already come to fruition as domestic holiday bookings surged when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the re-opening of the industry.

However, it remains to be seen whether the industry’s recovery will continue to be ‘V’ shaped, or if bookings start to plateau after the initial surge. Local spikes of infections – as we are currently witnessing in Leicester – and remaining fears over contracting the virus could be likely to prolong the recovery of the UK’s domestic tourism industry.

In order to instill public confidence that an establishment has the necessary health and safety measures in place to open safely to the public, private and public sector, organizations across the globe are launching safety accreditation schemes for tourism businesses to utilize. These schemes will directly address the sudden change in consumer demand for increased levels of hygiene and sanitation, especially in hotels and other forms of accommodation.

Consumer caution around the pandemic is evident from the latest COVID-19 global consumer survey, which reveals that 43% of respondents are still “extremely concerned” about the global outbreak of COVID-19. This concern mainly relates to health and safety, which has led to 59% of consumers now being either “always” or “often” influenced by services that positively impact health and well-being.

Safety accreditation schemes will allow businesses in the tourism sector to reduce health concerns by conveying a powerful message around safety, trust and confidence to drive tourism demand back up.