Visits abroad by UK residents decreased by 96 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, according to new data that reveals the true impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the travel industry.
UK residents made 939,000 visits abroad in this period, way down on the corresponding period in the previous year, the Office of National Statistics said.
Overseas residents made 398,000 visits between April and June – 96 per cent fewer than the same period in 2019. These travellers spent £218 million on their visits to the UK; 97 per cent less than before.
The data also reveals that UK residents spent £402 million on visits abroad in this period – 98 per cent less than in 2019.
An ABTA spokesperson said: “Today’s ONS figures for overseas travel in April to June 2020 lay bare the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on the industry. While the figures relate to the first lockdown period, since then the industry has had to deal with constantly changing travel advice and quarantine measures, as well as local lockdowns, meaning there has been very limited scope for recovery in the travel industry.
“As a result tens of thousands of jobs have already been lost and many businesses have closed their doors for good. In addition to tailored financial support for travel companies, the Government needs to implement an effective testing regime and introduce a fully regionalised travel corridor approach by the time lockdown is lifted to help people feel more confident to travel. It also needs to introduce flexibility into the furlough scheme to support businesses who need to have staff processing refunds, but won’t be generating income.”
The ONS said that travel and tourism statistics are usually based on the results of the International Passenger Survey (IPS), but the survey was suspended on March 16 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It said that the figures published for April to June are based on administrative sources and modelling, and the methods used are described in here.
The ONS said that business visits decreased to 85,000, 96 per cent fewer than in 2019. Visits to friends and relatives decreased by 96 per cent to 112,000.
Similar trends were observed for different areas of the world with visits by North American residents decreasing by 97 per cent to 40,000, and visits by residents of “other countries” (countries outside of Europe and North America) decreasing by 97 per cent to 60,000. Visits by European residents also decreased by 96 per cent to 298,000.
Overall, visits for 2020 are down 66 per cent, according to the ONS.