What does the COVID-19 vaccine mean for the travel and hospitality sectors?

The COVID-19 vaccine, which was first distributed in December 2020, offers renewed hope that life, at some point, will get back to normal. However, with vaccine programs expected to take most of the year to roll out, what impact will this have on the travel and hospitality sectors in 2021?

What the vaccine means for holidays

European countries such as Spain and Italy, which are popular holiday spots for Brits, have outlined their plans for mass vaccination. Spain hopes to vaccinate 1/4 of its population in the first three months of 2021, while Italy believes the majority of its citizens will get the vaccine by September. Vaccinations have also begun in Canada and the US, which are other popular destinations for holidays overseas.

However, this doesn’t mean restrictions on travelling abroad will be lifted quickly. While the vaccine will make travelling easier, it’s likely that some countries will require proof of vaccination before visitors can board a plane. New Zealand and Australia, in particular, are likely to introduce this measure. Both countries have worked hard to eradicate coronavirus from their populations, and the New Zealand government is reportedly already looking at ways to implement proof of vaccination for visitors.

Even where proof of vaccination isn’t required, anybody who travels abroad before being offered a vaccine will likely have to provide a negative Covid-19 test.

The alternative: staycations

For all the reasons outlined above, it’s unlikely travelling abroad will be normal during 2021. As such, it seems more Brits are looking to holiday in the UK, which could provide a much-needed boost for our hospitality and travel industries.

In fact, according to holidaycottages.co.uk, 4 in 5 Brits (84%) are reportedly planning a 2021 staycation, with the top ten destinations including Cornwall, Edinburgh and the Lake District.

1. Cornwall (48%)
2. Scottish Highlands (43%)
3. Devon (43%)
4. Cumbria/Lake District (41%)
5. Yorkshire Dales (35%)
6. Edinburgh (34%)
7. Peak District (32%)
8. Snowdonia (32%)
9. The Cotswolds (31%)
10. Dorset (30%)

The Digital PR Manager at holidaycottages.co.uk, Shannon Keary, said: “The past year has certainly impacted our international travel plans, and it doesn’t seem to be looking up in 2021 with the EU travel ban post-Brexit. However, this past year has allowed more people than ever before to see the beauty of their own country, and that can only be a good thing for UK domestic travel. The UK has so much to offer in terms of holidays and beauty spots, and it’s encouraging to see that 84% of Brits are considering a staycation in 2021."

If the predictions are correct, are you ready for the staycation boom this summer? Contact us at JW Recruitment for more advice and tips.

Published in Blog

Minister for hospitality motion receive unanimous vote

Following a 90-minute debate at the House of Commons, all 20 MPs present have now backed the motion for a dedicated minister for hospitality to be appointed.

During the debate, Paul Scully, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets pressed his point that the hospitality sector already had representation at government, citing recent grants, the furlough scheme, business loan schemes and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme as examples.

However, others present called out for further support for the industry from Government, including Tunbridge Wells Conservative MP Greg Clark and Labour MPs Lucy Powell for Manchester Central, Charlotte Nichols for Warrington North, and Catherine McKinnel for Newcastle North.

The recent debate was opened by McKinnel, who urged the Government to identify that the hospitality sector requires a strong voice at Government level. Clark implored fellow ministers to support the industry, emphasising the need for governmental support for hospitality enterprises, currently battling a third UK lockdown.

The critical issues facing the sector have gained a high profile due to the tireless efforts of over 200,000 supporters, leading it to make the MPs' agenda.

The #SeatAtTheTable petition launched by Chef & Restaurant Magazine Editor Clare Bosi and supported by celebrity chefs such as James Martin and Tom Kerridge has argued the importance of the hospitality sector’s contribution to the UK economy. Unlike sports and arts, hospitality does not have its own minister, despite generating £130 billion that results in £38 billion worth of taxation and providing approximately three million jobs across the country.

Although all the MPs present voted unanimously on the proposal, and the debate was able to underline the unique challenges that restaurants, bars and public houses in the UK are currently facing, it will result in no immediate action.

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the UK’s hospitality industry has seen job losses in their thousands as many businesses have collapsed under the economic strain.

However, the overall cross-party support for the hospitality industry is a positive step in the government recognising the importance of the sector and the debate highlighted many hospitality enterprises that seldom make the headlines. These include conference centres, dedicated wedding venues and bars that are struggling just as much under the strain as others in the industry. Recognition was also given to businesses in the industry’s supply chain that have also been negatively impacted by the outbreak.

Published in Blog

Hospitality leaders "optimistic" about UK long-term recovery

More than two-thirds of hospitality leaders in the UK have expressed optimism about the long-term recovery of the sector following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The majority are predicting profitability will rise again over the next five years, according to research from Deloitte. They expect a growth of at least 9% in revenue per available room UK-wide and believe Cambridge, Oxford and Edinburgh will be the top three cities for investment in the hote lindustry.

UK holidays hope

The optimistic figures quoted in Deloitte's European Hotel Industry Survey 2020 are the result of almost 120 senior hospitality figures being polled. They believe it will take at least two years for performance to get back to normal following the pandemic and another three years for the sector to grow significantly.

One reason for optimism is because the restrictions on international travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic have led to many people taking holidays in the UK in 2020, rather than abroad.

Once the hospitality industry opens up again - hopefully when the current tiers system is reviewed and eventually relaxed - it is hoped residents will continue to take a vacation in the British destinations they have discovered during the pandemic.

Vaccine optimism

Research carried out for PWC UK's Hotels Forecast 2020-2021 suggests a similar time-frame to the one recognised by Deloitte. It fears a "volatile" outlook during 2021, forecasting occupancy rates for rooms are likely to be around 55% across the UK.

This is not only due to the pandemic, but also because of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. The effects of Britain's final departure from the EU, following the year-long transition period that ended on 31st December 2020, have presented a "large number of uncertainties", according to the study.

However, the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020 has given fresh hope that it can be quickly and widely administered. This could be the key to the recovery of the hospitality sector, combined with consumers' renewed confidence to take holidays again as a result.

Hospitality petition

The PWC suggests 2021 will be a challenging year for hotels but believes the sector will gradually return to health by 2023.

An online petition demanding the government appoints a dedicated Minister for Hospitality to aid the recovery of the sector has attracted more than 100,000 signatures. This means it will be debated in Parliament during January.

Job losses in the hospitality industry totalled 650,000 between January and December 2020, leaving morale at rock bottom, but the launch of the vaccine has led to industry leaders seeing a light at the end of the tunnel at last.


Published in Blog

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