International travel down but camping remains popular

Maybe, just maybe, the enforced reductions in international travel has led to greater spending by British people here in the UK.

The following info is from The Office for National Statistics (ONS):

In an average pre-pandemic summer, UK residents made almost 6.6 million visits to see friends and family overseas. How could these trips be affected by the current red and amber travel lists, and what might the financial implications be?

More than 5 million visits that UK residents would normally have made to see friends and relatives overseas this summer (July to September 2021) would currently require quarantine and coronavirus (COVID-19) tests on return.

Different countries are classed as red, amber or green based on whether people should travel to them and if quarantine is required because of coronavirus restrictions.

Restrictions will likely reduce the amount of money spent by UK residents overseas compared with a pre-pandemic summer, as well as the amount spent by overseas residents who would have visited the UK.

In Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2020, when there were restrictions on social contact but travel corridors permitted overseas journeys to a list of countries, visits by UK residents to see friends and family abroad fell by 78% compared with the same three months of 2019.

The red, amber and green lists are reviewed regularly with countries’ status changing depending on the coronavirus situation. The analysis here is based on the lists as of 8 June 2021.




The Republic of Ireland is the only country in the top 20 for visiting friends and relatives where quarantine is not required on returning to the UK. This is because it is part of the Common Travel Area, along with the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Between 2016 and 2019, 29% of all overseas residents’ visits to the UK during Quarter 3 were to visit friends and relatives while 23% of UK residents’ visits to other countries were for the same reason.

This made visiting friends and relatives the second most common reason for foreign travel, after holidays. Around 44% of overseas residents’ visits to the UK was for holidays compared with 69% of UK residents’ visits overseas.


UK residents made an average of 6.3 million visits to Spain, for any reason (holidays, visiting friends and relatives, business or study) during Quarter 3 between 2016 and 2019. This made Spain by far the most popular summer destination for UK residents.The second most popular was France, with 3.6 million visits. Both countries are on the amber list as of 8 June 2021.

Australia is the most popular destination on the current green list, with an average of 99,000 visits by UK residents during a non-pandemic summer. The most popular destination previously on the green list was Portugal, with an average of 1.2 million visits by UK residents each third quarter. Portugal was removed from the green list with effect from 8 June 2021.

In 2020, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in travel restrictions, UK residents made an estimated 23.8 million visits abroad, a fall of 74% on the year before.


Meanwhile, back in Blighty …

Hotels were allowed to re-open to all guests in July of 2020 following the first lockdown, but by August room occupancy in every region of England was down on the same month of 2019, according to data from VisitEngland.

The South West saw the lowest year on year fall in England in terms of hotel room occupancy during August 2020. VisitEngland data suggest 72% of available rooms were occupied that month in the South West region, down 15 percentage points year on year from 87% in August 2019.

Camping, however, proved popular and surpassed its performance in the previous year. There was even an increase in turnover for the camping sub-industry in December, following the end of England’s second lockdown and before the start of the third in January 2021.



Comments are closed here.