Since the beginning of the 21st century, the United Kingdom has been the most reliable generator of overseas visitors to the United States. Last year, 2019, was no exception when the UK market sent some 4.8 million travelers to the USA, accounting for nearly one out of every eight of those visitors who came to the United States from abroad.
If there were declines in the annual number of Britons who took their holidays in the U.S., those declines didn’t last—as was the case in the downturns following 9/11, the Great Recession of 2008 and some weak economic numbers in the mid-teens.
Always, always, the USA’s neighbors across the Atlantic Ocean proved resilient and, indeed, stubbornly determined to take their holiday in the USA.
So, it was a bit troubling last week when a new survey told us that, as of now, Brits are holding off on their holidays for 2021. In fact, just one in ten adults in the UK were planning a trip abroad in the next six months. (What information we have from decades of covering the UK is not sorted in a way that gives INBOUND the ability to say so with certainty but, our sense tells is that such an outlook is unprecedented.)
The survey—it was conducted last month by YouGov—reported a decline of 12 percentage points to 34 percent in the proportion of UK adults planning a domestic holiday in the next six months. (It should be noted that the survey was conducted before the latest development, or lack thereof on Brexit, the UK withdrawal from the EU.)
Another view: Seemingly overlapping the release of the results from the YouGov report were the numbers from another survey conducted of Mail Metro Media readers as part of the media group’s partnership with the Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers (ATAS). The responses were gathered from respondents who all intend to travel in the next three years. The survey indicated that holidaymakers planning touring and adventure getaways in 2021 are prepared to spend more to ensure safety as the sector is “likely to bounce back” long-term. (It was not exactly spelled out how it was determined a respondent was “likely to bounce back.”)
Some of the findings from the Mail Metro Media study included the following:
—Seven in 10 people were yet to book a 2021 holiday, but that they intend to take an average of 2.1 holidays next year.
—Under 34s plan an average of 2.1 holidays, with 27 percent of that age range intending to take three or more; the 35-54 age group plan 1.9 holidays with 24 percent hoping for three or more; and the 55+ category plan 2.2 holidays next year, with 35 percent planning three or more.
—Respondents said they would spend an average of £2,200 ($2,870) per person per week on accommodation and flights, with only 20 percent focused on getting a deal and 40 percent saying safety was more important.
—Twenty-two percent of those surveyed said they were happy to spend a bit more in 2021, particularly the younger age group; 27 percent said they were happy to spend more. Of the 35-54s group, 26 percent said they would spend more and 12 percent of the over-55s were prepared to spend more.
—According to the survey, the preferred average group size for an escorted tour was nine people.
Where would they be interested in visiting?
What does all this mean? Mail Metro Media’s travel account manager, Robertina Tompa, said the data showed a “huge appetite for this type of holiday” as results showed 41 percent of respondents would consider a touring holiday next year, compared to 31 percent who would not consider one and 28 percent undecided or unsure.
She said the touring and adventure market is “likely to bounce back” in the long term, but noted the sector faces “concerns” about group travel that “need to be addressed for the recovery process.”