As more destinations have been added to the UK’s green list, this strikes a positive note for UK summer travel. Sudden, sometimes unexpected changes however can occur, therefore caution is key for consumers and companies.

Lessons learned from Portugal’s status change

Portugal was removed from the UK’s green list in June 2021. Around a month prior to its removal operators such as Jet2, easyJet and TUI reported a surge in demand for the popular summer destination. Its removal then caused a surge in UK tourists trying to get home to avoid the need for quarantine. Operators then had to dish out major refunds for the months ahead or face negative publicity and consumer outrage.

Demand for holidays in Europe is high. GlobalData’s poll* found that the highest number of respondents (37%) would travel to Europe over any other destination. However, quarantine restrictions remain the top deterrent for international travel**. Therefore, consumers need to remain vigilant in scrutinising refund policies for travel changes, to avoid the need to pay large sums for more tests and to be able to quarantine on return. Companies also need to remain flexible with their current travel and refund policies for any chance of consumers regaining confidence for future travel in 2021 and beyond.

UK summer 2021 will not be normal

June, July and August are typically some of the peak summer months for UK tourists. In 2019, 33% of total UK trips made (both domestic and international) took place within those three months. Europe is also typically a hotspot destination for UK travellers with 80% of their international departures centred here in 2019, the last ‘normal’ tourism year.

Debates surrounding a ‘two jab’ travel allowance have recently arisen, meaning individuals that have received their full dose of the COVID-19 vaccination would not need to quarantine on their return. Whether or not this will come into force is currently unclear due to a lack of certainty from industry officials. The UK is making headway in its vaccination rollout and remains ahead of much of Europe in this regard. However, it may be unfair to allow travel for fully vaccinated individuals before everybody has had a chance for a double dose. Therefore, it is unlikely to bear fruit until this has happened, meaning summer travel in 2021 could still be limited.


*GlobalData’s poll, 19 April – 18 May 2021 – 685 respondents

** GlobalData’s poll, 17 Nov 2020 – 18 May 2021 – 1,364 respondents

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