It’s hard to overstate the impact of COVID-19 on the UK travel and tourism industry. The sector was thriving prior to the pandemic, with Brits making a record 93 million overseas trips in 2019.
But this fell by almost three quarters (74%) to fewer than 24 million trips in 20201 and travel restrictions continued largely unabated during 2021. As a result, more than one in 10 jobs were lost in the aviation, tourism and travel industries, despite billions of pounds in Government financial support.
At the time of writing, things are improving.
The UK Government has announced the removal of all travel testing requirements for fully-vaccinated people – which represents more than four in five Brits2. Around the world, border restrictions are beginning to be lifted, travel rules are being relaxed and tourists’ confidence is returning.
So, is this the year that travel bounces back? In our latest in-depth market report, we spoke to 250 executives from ATOL protected businesses across the sector to understand their current position, the steps they have taken to survive the pandemic, their outlook for the year ahead and the challenges and opportunities that will shape their futures.
The results highlight an industry in flux, presented with new opportunities but significant challenges that may cap its future success.