Spending on travel is likely to “rebound” more quickly than other consumer sectors as people prioritise holidays during 2021.
Travel has been the hardest hit consumer sector in 2020 said Alistair Pritchard, travel and aviation lead partner at Deloitte, but the industry was likely to see a faster recovery than other areas of the economy.
“Overall holiday spending is seen as a priority as compared to all other types of discretionary spend,” added Pritchard during Barclays’ Travel Industry State of the Nation online event.
“It’s the area that’s fallen most significantly in the last six to nine months. But the rebound for holiday spending will be more accelerated than leisure spending more broadly.”
Pritchard said that consumer sentiment for travelling in the next three months had “dropped off” in November following the imposition of a second lockdown across England, after it had picked up during the summer.
Martin Alcock, director at Travel Trade Consultancy, said that while the approval of the first Covid-19 vaccine in the UK was “great news”, there were still challenges to overcome to allow people to travel freely again in the coming months.
“It’s dangerous to place too much hope on a vaccine at this point,” said Alcock. “In the short and medium-term, testing is going to be more important.”
Alcock added that there would be challenges such as finding a “universal way of proving you’ve had that vaccine”, as well as a “lack of co-ordination” between countries.
“It’s the idea of mutual recognition – a destination has to be comfortable that you’re not bringing in the virus and are not a threat,” he said. “Until that co-ordination happens on a wide scale, we’re a bit stuck.”
He said that there was also an “added danger” that the UK government may stop focusing on testing with the imminent start of vaccine roll-out programmes.