Domestic tourism falls 20% due to COVID-19

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, according to new research released by GlobalData.

Government advice and legal restrictions announced in March to combat COVID-19 have already taken their toll on much of the industry, as demand has fallen considerably. As lockdown is eased across the UK this month, this new data suggests that the indutsry may not recover quickly. 

A significant drop in in consumer confidence due to safety concerns is likely to cause a shortfall that may not be filled by holiday makers unable to travel internationally who are amending vacation plans over the coming months. Certainly the current spike in demand that many retailers have seen after re-opening is giving the tourism industry some hope. 

Ralph Hollister, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, said that "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.

Hollister adds: "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."