Half of Brits planning international travel after bans lift

29 May 2020 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read

As and when the Covid-19 lock-down finally ends, a majority of Britons have stated that they will be flooding out of the country for a holiday. A global poll of more than 4,000 would-be travellers found that of nine major economies, the UK has the highest number of people looking to travel internationally.

Some might argue that one of the few positives to come from the current Covid-19 lock-down is the rest of the world has been given a welcome reprieve from British tourists. From not learning any of the local language to drinking habits, to the casual violence of travelling football fans, the stereotypical British traveller is not someone many locals enjoy sharing their home-town with, even temporarily.

It is a stereotype which has been hard earned, and one research from TravelSupermarket recently backed up (including the fact 17% of unadventurous British holidaymakers won't order foreign food they don't recognise).

With virtually all international flights currently grounded, however, the troop of lobster-shouldered, chip-guzzling Brits clogging up resorts across Spain and France – or bellowing their way through stag-dos in Amsterdam – has undoubtedly dwindled. All good things must come to an end, however, and it appears that as the UK’s lock-down measures hastily ease, huge numbers of Britons are already planning to pack airports, and pour out of the country on holiday.

Half of Brits planning international travel after bans lift

According to a global poll of 4,600 travellers by Oliver Wyman, 54% of UK respondents are looking to travel internationally for their next leisure trip, once restrictions are lifted. Elsewhere, 40% said they would travel domestically, though only 15% said they would travel to an urban locale – suggesting they may harbour reservations about the spread of the virus in such a place, though apparently the majority of Brits are not so concerned about being hit by a second coronavirus wave while sat at the airport. Just 6% said they were not planning on travelling at all.

The data suggests Britons are more willing to burst beyond the borders of their own country than any other nationality, once the lock-down ends. The closest comparisons were Germany (52%) and Canada (49%), though both those countries have had significantly better luck preventing the spread of Covid-19, which will likely have boosted confidence to travel among their citizens post-pandemic.

In-keeping with this hypothesis, respondents from Italy (28%), Spain (29%) and the US (32%) were more reserved with their plans for international holidays. Conversely, meanwhile, China’s citizens seem to still be staying cautious despite their country’s success in tackling coronavirus’ first wave. This may be due to a fall in trust of the government, which initially tried to cover up the outbreak.

Ultimately, however, no country of the nine examined saw a majority claim they were planning to stay put during their next holiday. The news will come as a breath of fresh air for the crumbling tourist industry and numerous airlines currently teetering on the brink of collapse amid the lock-down.

“Though the timing of the return to travel is dependent on when government authorities deem it safe, the desire to travel is strong and comfort levels are surprisingly high,” said Oliver Wyman Partner Jessica Stansbury. “This pent-up demand for leisure travel will spark the initial recovery of the industry.”