Latest inbound research and insights webinar FAQs (13 May 2021)
FAQs from our ninteenth webinar, ‘Latest inbound research and insights', recorded 13 May 2021.
Please note information provided in these responses was correct at the time of recording.
There is a question we asked about this on the Attitudes to Travel slides that have just been presented. We are looking at the issue of sustainability at the moment, and we would like to do some research on this topic later in this financial year.
One example is putting certain countries on the green/amber/red lists and enforcing quarantines, which will influence perception of destination, as some countries may feel 'discriminated' against if they are not allowed to visit Britain, for example. Also the introduction of a vaccine passport, the Government's advice on travel, as well as the political stability which will affect on the reputation of a destination. Our Brexit research will also cover more on this.
In pre-COVID times we also saw domestic flights being low in popularity to travel across Britain. I would say it would be the time involved in those trips which would take away from your leisure time while visiting. It's also a bit of an 'advanced' trip to travel right across the country rather than just out of a city.
This is from an online survey that we've been conducting across markets. We can see preference across English regions, but not right down to cities or specific areas.
Thanks for bringing this up – worth bearing in mind, although we don’t have any data that digs into the prevalence or motivation of hotel loyalty cards in particular, so we can’t quantify how this might influence the results for this question.
At the moment Australia's outbound travel is predicted to open up once the vaccination drive has reached around 70% of the population, which was hoped to be October; however, many people think that there won't be outbound travel beyond Oceania itself until 2022.
France and Germany will both be on the Amber list from 17 May. Immediate prospects will depend on whether they stay at this level or move to the Green list. While we cannot foresee with certainty if/when this will happen, our forecasting assumption is that by late 2021 there will be a meaningful level of inbound tourism from many major European markets, although still well below normal, and it will probably take a few years until visit numbers are back to pre-COVID levels. The sentiment research shows that there is a good level of appetite to travel, if it is possible.
The US will be on the Amber list from 17 May; we will need to wait for the US to rise to the Green list before we see high numbers of visitors again. While we cannot foresee with certainty if/when this will happen, our view is that the US is amongst the long-haul markets that are likely to start to return sooner; their vaccination programme is relatively advanced, yet cases are not so low so that they will be as reluctant to open their borders as some other long-haul markets. Our forecasting assumption is that there will be a meaningful level of inbound tourism from the US by late 2021, although still well below normal, and it will probably take a few years until visit numbers are back to pre-COVID levels.
I’d like to answer this taking in Europe generally, beyond just the EU. In reality this will largely be based on the traffic light system, how it will evolve, and the opening plans that will take place in the European countries. Inbound travel will be heavily influenced by who can travel outbound, and come into Britain relatively easily without a lot of extra challenges. However, if we purely look at the results from the latest wave of our sentiment research, we can see where the most intent lies within Europe. Looking at Europe as a whole, travel sentiment has improved in all the core European markets we tracked in this survey, so there’s a lot of general potential. Plus, European countries have a high intention to travel within Europe already, so the challenge is to draw their attention to Britain amongst all our competitors.
If we look at the individual markets, France, Italy, Russia and Spain currently show the most positive sentiment towards travelling abroad. These markets are also most likely to be planning to travel in summer 2021. France, Italy and Spain are highly likely to choose Europe for their next international trip, whereas Russia sees some competition from Asia. Italy and Spain both rank Britain high within Europe (in top 5) as their next destination (we are facing more competition in France and Russia, with sun and sea destinations being popular). We also see strong preference for Britain from Ireland, Sweden and Norway, but their travel may be delayed relative to Italy and Spain. Also, Ireland and Germany have seen big boosts in consideration for Britain wave on wave.
So there are a few markets showing some positive results, but again this will be heavily influenced by travel policy here and in Europe.
The inbound tourism statistics were suspended between mid-March 2020 and mid-January 2021 (with a short period back in field in December). For this period, results will be modelled from available passenger data although will have been at a very low level. However, the methodology now that the survey has resumed is the same as it was pre-COVID so, this period aside, the results should be comparable. There is a longer-term review of international travel and tourism statistics being conducted by the Office for National Statistics (VisitBritain sits on the expert group for this project) but this will not be implemented in the short term.