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One in 12 UK adults believe they won't travel overseas again

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More than half (53%) of UK adults are planning a UK holiday in the next 12 months. More than a third (37%) of UK adults are planning an overseas holiday in the next 12 months. 41% of UK residents are more likely to travel overseas, now that a vaccine is available.

The number of UK adults planning to take overseas holidays has roughly halved since December 2019, according to a new study from Aviva.

The insight comes from the insurer’s latest How We Live report, a study of 4,000 UK residents. The report reveals, in December 2019, two thirds (66%) of UK adults planned to take a holiday abroad in the twelve months ahead, while three quarters (75%) expected to enjoy a UK break during 2020.

By March 2021, the proportion of UK people planning holidays in the next 12 months had substantially reduced to 37% (abroad) and 53% (UK), although figures have increased in comparison to 2020.

UK holidays
While the desire for all types of UK breaks understandably fell in the last year, there are signs of green shoots as people plan holidays on their home turf.

Plans for camping and caravanning breaks are back up to pre-pandemic levels with 13% intending to take such a break in the next 12 months, while self-catering cottages are also climbing in popularity (16% compared to 19% pre-pandemic).

The appetite for city stays / short hotel breaks - previously the most popular type of UK holiday - has fallen considerably, but latest data shows interest in spa breaks is climbing. This perhaps suggests that recent events have taken a toll on people’s wellbeing and they are keen to relax and enjoy some well-deserved “me time”.

How holiday plans have changed: UK holiday plans for next 12 months

Type of UK break

Dec 2019

July 2020

November 2020

February 2021

City breaks / hotel short stay

35%

16%

13%

17%

Visit family and friends

28%

11%

11%

12%

Cottage/apartment/villa (e.g. self-catering)

19%

15%

13%

16%

Beach holiday

19%

9%

10%

14%

Camping / caravanning

13%

10%

8%

13%

Theme parks

10%

1%

4%

2%

Spa break

8%

2%

4%

5%

Driving tour

5%

3%

4%

4%

Coach tour

4%

1%

3%

3%

Cruise

3%

1%

2%

4%

People were able to select more than one option, suggesting that some people plan to take more than one type of holiday.

Overseas breaks
With regard to plans for overseas breaks, there has been very little change between July 2020 and February 2021. Overall there has been a huge reduction in plans for holidays abroad of all types, compared to December 2019.

Beach breaks are still the most popular type of vacation amongst would-be overseas travellers, the choice of nearly a fifth (18%) of holidaymakers for the next 12 months. However, this proportion has almost dropped by half since December 2019, when 34% hoped to hit the beaches abroad within the year.

How holiday plans have changed: overseas plans for the next 12 months

Type of overseas break

Dec 2019

July 2020

November 2020

February 2021

Beach holiday

34%

17%

17%

18%

City breaks / hotel short stay

25%

11%

10%

10%

Visit family or friends

14%

8%

8%

9%

Cruise

8%

4%

5%

6%

Cottage/apartment/villa (e.g. self-catering)

8%

5%

5%

5%

Theme parks

6%

1%

3%

2%

Activity (e.g. safari, sailing)

5%

2%

3%

4%

Backpacking / touring

5%

2%

2%

2%

Driving tour

3%

2%

2%

2%

Skiing / winter sports

3%

2%

2%

3%

People were able to select more than one option, suggesting that some people plan to take more than one type of holiday.

How will a vaccine change holiday plans?

When asked in July 2020 why they did not plan to take a holiday overseas in the next 12 months, almost half (47%) of respondents in this group said they didn’t want to travel for fear of catching a disease, while 41% were worried about getting stuck overseas as a result of Covid.

But in March 2021, 41% of UK adults reported they would be more likely to travel overseas, now that a vaccine is available. This is also good news for the 12% of UK residents who are “keener than ever” to travel, due to trips missed during the pandemic, and the 9% who want to visit friends and family overseas.

Holiday plans – a long-term view
However, the How We Live study finds many people are cautious about travelling overseas in the future.

Four out of five (80%) UK adults say the Covid pandemic has affected their attitudes towards travelling. While many people are excited about the prospect of going abroad, others are still very nervous. 

A fifth (20%) of UK adults say the pandemic has made them less keen on travelling overseas, and the same proportion (20%) specifically say they are worried about becoming ill abroad. Around one in seven (15%) say they are worried holiday destinations “just won’t be the same” in the future.

Sadly, one in 12 (8%) UK adults don’t think they will travel abroad again. This rises to 16% of those aged 65-74 and 20% of people aged 75 and above.

Gareth Hemming, MD, Personal Lines, Aviva says: “We are very aware that people look forward to a well-earned break. Having missed out on holidays during 2020, many individuals will be even more keen to travel when they can. But they are still nervous about the implications of Covid.

“However, when interviewed in March 2021, two fifths of UK people said they would be more likely to travel now that a Covid vaccine is available, so we can hope that there is positive news on the horizon, both for the tourism industry and for individuals as they see the return of the Great British Holiday.”

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