Being a bit of a kill-joy

By | Category: Travel rumblings

According to the ONS, there were 93.1 million overseas visits made by UK residents in 2019, up 3% over the preceding year and this cost £62.3 billion.

Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Visitor numbers will be low for the foreseeable future,

Of these visits, 58.7 or about 63% were for holidays with the remainder being things like business or attending conferences.

Visits to the UK from overseas residents totalled less than half the same figure – 40.9 million visits and they spent something like £28.4 billion meaning that international holidays by Britons leaves a gap of £33.9 billion.

Imagine how much better the economies of the UK and the devolved nations would be if Britons spent a year in the UK instead of going abroad. It would be a huge boost for the economy even if our biggest tour operators and international airlines were to lose out.

This might be the year where it could happen.

I say “could” because it probably won’t happen. At some stage the de facto ban on overseas travel will end. At some stage people will yearn to travel again and to travel abroad. At some stage the deals offered will be so tantalising that we will go.

But whilst EU nations are planning on opening borders to allow cross border tourism many countries are still hesitant.

Any opening up is still likely to be limited and these travel bubbles, corridors or whatever you want to call them are likely to be the way forward for the next few months. Destinations in similar phases of the pandemic seem to be more likely to work together to allow international visitors as opposed to those seeing declining figures compared to those with still growing ones.

You would be optimistic, for example, if you thought that trips to Brazil, Ecuador and Peru were likely to be on the cards anytime soon.

Tour operators, airlines and destinations will all start advertising how safe their countries are and how they are seeing declines. Don’t fall for the guff but satisfy your own thinking.

South Korea has been held up as one of the countries that has managed the pandemic better than many others. Yet last week a second – albeit small in comparison with what went before – began in two e-commerce buildings and the country was persuaded to clamp down again on movement by its people.

The fear by the World Health Organisation is that a resurgence is likely and could be more deadly but how can they know? Their views are based on modelling and historic examples whereas COVID-19 seems different from those pandemics where we have records.

As people start moving internationally it is likely that there will be more outbreaks because there is still no vaccine. Until there is one, any international travel is at your own risk because there will be few insurance policies that will cover you if there is a problem.

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