This Visit Wales sponsored piece of research (May, 2021) provides insights into the prospects for the recovery of the visitor economy in Wales.
It forecasts a very large fall in inbound and domestic tourism in the UK in 2020, with potential for partial recovery in 2021, led by domestic holidays. There are uncertainties in market recovery paths, but the domestic market is forecast to return to 2019 levels in 2022-2023 with inbound visitor levels taking longer to recover by 2024-25. In terms of the proportion of normal annual revenue lost the median reported loss in 2020 was 61–70% of normal revenue.
Virus control is leading to an improvement in outlook, but the majority of consumers still do not expect normality until 2022 onwards. However, the good news is that the resumption of holidays and travel is a priority for consumers. Four in 10 Britons reported that the past year is the longest they have ever gone without a holiday, taking a toll on their wellbeing.
Government support has protected incomes, but economic impacts have affected people in different ways. Younger people and family life-stages more are likely to be negatively impacted with empty nester and AB’S more likely to be better off. Value seeking, financial security and trip substitution are all possible coping behaviours. There has been a notable strengthening of confidence to travel in the Spring and Summer, but a minority are confident they will be able to take a UK short break or holiday during the next 2 months. Confidence rises for the summer, and confidence amongst Wales residents has been growing in line with whole of the U.K.
The pandemic has reduced peoples level of comfort undertaking many leisure activities, with confidence falling during the recent lockdown this year, although signs of increasing in most recent survey waves. Comfort levels are notably lower for visiting indoor attractions, busy city centres and travelling by public transport. Participation has generally been lower across most activities by Welsh residents. Participation has also generally been higher for pre-family and family life stages rather than older independents and retirees. Walking, cycling, wildlife watching, swimming and spa and health treatments are the activities that people state they are more likely to do over the next few months.
Empty nesters are more likely to be avoiding busy urban destinations and show a higher tendency to wish to revisit old favourite destinations, preferring familiarity. Families are more likely to be preferring less expensive places and avoiding shared accommodation. Pre-Nesters favour trying new destinations, but are also looking for less expensive places to visit. The main barriers to taking domestic city breaks are concerns around catching Covid or restrictions on socialising, fewer places to visit and expense.
...and no real surprise here, Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire remain the most popular destinations Pembrokeshire is the most popular for Welsh residents and Snowdonia for English residents. Seaside and rural areas remain the areas most people intend to visit in Wales with subdued demand for urban areas.
Notes This information includes information from the consumer and business tracker surveys published by Visit Wales/Welsh Government. The consumer tracking surveys are undertaken in conjunction with Visit Britain, Visit England and Visit Scotland. This also includes information published by other third parties. Further information or queries: firstname.lastname@example.org