Brits Abroad Spikes as Quarantine Rules Ease on Foreign Travel

The number of Brits present in countries across Europe reached a new high on the day the Government ended its 14-day quarantine rule for returning travellers on Friday (10 July)

According to Huq’s European Travel Indicator for GB Residents, which tracks the change in British residents present in countries across Europe, the number of ‘Brits abroad’ regained 59% of pre-lockdown levels as they were permitted to travel to other countries without the need to self isolate upon return. However, this rise only corresponds to 38% of 2019 levels.

Over the last three months, outbound tourism from the UK dropped to some 15% of pre-lockdown levels. Data from Huq’s Regional Destination and Destination Activity indicators suggests that the vast majority of travel has been associated with essential family and business reasons.

However, in the last seven days, signs have started to emerge that the summer holiday is back on for some. In the last week, destinations that have seen the sharpest increase in visitors from the UK in comparison to pre-lockdown levels have been Turkey (87% of pre-lockdown levels in January), Italy (64%) and Greece (61%). Again on a year-on-year basis however, these numbers remain subdued at in the sub-15% range.

While there were Brits present overseas throughout lockdown, the majority were in cities, and recent activity has shown more renowned holiday-hotspots lighting up. Some of the most popular new destinations over the last seven days have been beach favourites Bodrum, the Greek Islands and Algarve.

Huq’s Destination Activity monitor also suggests that holidays are on the up with visits to hospitality businesses and hotels forming the dominant activities for Brits while abroad in the last seven days. Previous outputs had suggested that travel was more closely related to work and family.

Although the number of people travelling from the UK rose sharply as the quarantine rule was lifted, British outbound tourism still has a long way to go to get back to the levels of “normality” seen across other European countries. Sweden has seen significant numbers of residents traveling aboard (in some cases double pre-lockdown levels), alongside Italy (130% of pre-lockdown levels), Germany (120%) and France (110%) – although still low for this time of year.


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