Perspectives on travel recovery: UK

As one of the sectors acutely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, UK tourism dropped by 52% between 2019 and 2020 (or by a value of 66.5 GBP bn) and it is not expected to return to its pre-crisis level until 2024 (for domestic tourism) and 2025 (inbound).

At a general level, UK has been less affected than countries like France (drop of 60%) or Italy (55%) but more than others like Germany (38%).

Outbound expenditures dropped by approximately 75% between 2019 and 2020 (the business segment suffered more than the leisure segment with a drop in expenditures of about 78% and a 73% respectively). However, UK occupies the second position regarding total outbound spend only behind Germany. In terms of average trip expenditure for international trips, UK is not among the ‘big spenders’ and countries such as Finland, Germany and Switzerland are above UK.

Inbound market trends are quite similar and don’t differ significantly from outbound market ones, with a 73% of drop in expenditures in total (combining business and leisure) and a recovery horizon of 2027 for business segment and 2024 for leisure.

UK inbound and domestic tourism markets are likely to recover from COVID-19 impacts in 2025 and 2024 respectively.