Official-esta.com has conducted a survey to reveal the impact of COVID-19, uncovering the public’s thoughts and opinions on leadership, travel destinations, money and what the future may hold. You can view the full findings here.
As the world continues its battle against COVID-19, governments, companies and individuals from around the globe are all facing extreme challenges as restrictions on travel are enforced and industries halted. As a nation, we have come together to help the vulnerable, clap for our carers and do all we can to support the NHS, while our day-to-day lives are dramatically changing.
The immediate impact of the pandemic on tourism has been felt in nearly every country, but where has enforced the most amount of travel restrictions and will there be any long term damage on the tourism industry across the globe?
The countries with the most travel restrictions due to COVID-19
New measures are being introduced daily to countries around the world to reduce the spread of the virus. Some of these restrictions include quarantining incoming passengers, cancelling commercial flights and closing borders to non-residents, with some implementing stricter regulations than others. But, which countries have the most measures in place at the time the data was collected?*
While these countries are at the top of the list, the survey has uncovered that many of us have our own opinions on the travel restrictions currently enforced in the UK, more specifically on whether we agree or disagree with them.
More than 1 in 10 (12%) think it’s still safe to travel despite the COVID-19 outbreak and the UK’s enforced lockdown – an alarming amount considering the government’s current restriction against non-essential travel, which is pivotal to reducing the virus’ spread. This percentage increases to nearly 2 in 10 (18%) of those aged 25-34, in comparison to only 6% of over 55s sharing this opinion.
When it comes to the decisions made by the UK government, two thirds (67%) feel that the UK should have closed its borders when they went into lockdown on the 23rd of March, a precaution countries such as Argentina, Australia and France have all put in place. Voicing similar concerns, over a third (37%) of healthcare workers surveyed believe that the government is not doing enough to protect the nation.
What does travel and tourism look like after COVID-19?
The tourism industry has been impacted globally with all travel coming to a halt, but has this changed the public’s idea of holidaying in the years to come?
More than 1 in 3 (34%) people are worried about visiting Asian countries in the future due to the recent outbreak, with almost a quarter (23%) vowing to never visit China again even after the restrictions are lifted. But, it looks like this new view on travel will impact countries on all sides of the globe, as others state they will never holiday in Italy (16%), USA (13%) or France (12%) ever again.
As 3 out of 10 (31%) of those surveyed say they will be too scared to travel after restrictions are lifted, there are a smaller number of people who are jumping at the chance to get abroad again (less than 2 in 10). Even though we have no idea how long these restrictions will last, in the public’s opinion it will take at least one year for them to consider going away – even if it’s a staycation in our own country.
Country to holiday in
Average days before travelling again
United Kingdom (staycation)
It’s also revealed that Spain remains one of the top-favourite destinations for the British public. Data shows 1 in 10 (11%) will choose to visit Spain as their first place to travel to once the restrictions are lifted.
The virus has, so far, cost the average person nearly £3,000 (£2,929.82)
From cancelled travel plans, weddings and other events, to additional costs for household work, food and late payment fees, COVID-19 has put a strain on the public and their earnings. Since the start of the pandemic, it has cost the average person £2929.82, with loss of earnings making up almost 20%.
As well as a rise in food, entertainment and household bills since a large number of us have been spending more time at home, parents and guardians have seen an increased cost of £230.45 on average for home education since schools closed on the 20th of March.
How the impact of the COVID-19 media coverage shows a divide in generations
From the early days of the media covering the virus, to the now daily COVID-19 briefings, there shows a clear generational divide when it comes to how the media is portraying the pandemic. More than a third (37%) of millennials believe the media is exaggerating, with a specific jump in those aged 16-24 with almost 4 in 10 (37%) agreeing with this statement. This is compared to only 6% of those over 55 sharing the same view, suggesting a lack in trust in the media of those below the age of 34.
The public's views on the impact the pandemic may have on Brexit
The views on how the pandemic may have an impact on Brexit varies between whether you voted remain or leave. With 2 out of 10 (19%) leavers worried that the outbreak could stop Brexit, the remainers are hoping for this outcome with nearly half of them (49%) believing the UK would be better equipped to face future pandemic outbreaks if they remain in the EU.
Jayne Forrester, Director of International Development at Official-esta.com comments: “Whilst we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is more important than ever to listen to the public’s opinions and worries on the current situation we are all faced with. Understandably, the travel industry is currently paused as countries around the world are taking extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the virus, and it is really interesting to see the difference in approaches and also the public’s view on travel in the future.
“Although we don’t yet know what the future holds, nor when the restrictions will be lifted, it is clear there will be a major impact on the tourism industry from the global pandemic. Saying this, the industry hasn’t come to a complete standstill – hotels around the world have been seen opening its doors to medical workers and supporting each other through these challenging times.”
*data collected 03.04.2020 - 06.04.2020