The leisure sector is bouncing back-for now

Coronavirus had a big impact on the travel and leisure sector due to a decline in tourism because of travel bans and lockdown restrictions. However, the past summer showed a very different outcome as travel bans and restrictions were eased in many different countries. An article summarised the numbers from the Office of National Statistics:

  • The boom in domestic holidays fuelled a rebound in Britain’s economy in August as bars, restaurants and festivals benefited from the easing of most remaining Covid restrictions during the height of summer. 
  • The Office of National Statistics said gross domestic product rose by 0.4% in August compared with the previous month as consumers increased their spending on leisure during the first full month without domestic government restrictions in England.
  • The accommodation sector grew by 23% on the month, driven by spending at hotels and campsites during the key month of the school holidays for holiday destinations across the country.
  • Although air transport continued to expand as restrictions on foreign travel were gradually lifted – taking off by 27.5% in August – the figures showed activity remained 75% below pre-Covid levels.

It is great to see the UK bouncing back, however, it may be too soon to say that things are getting back to normal. The new omicron variant is causing quite the stir as face mask mandates are being implemented again from Tuesday the 30th of November. People will have to wear face coverings in shops and on public transport in England from Tuesday, the government has said. 

While it is too soon to say how this new variant will affect the leisure industry in terms of lockdown, travel bans are now being put in place in the UK for international travellers and covid restrictions may impact the sector in a negative way.

Whether or not we go into a lockdown, it will be best to dust off the facemasks to wear for now.

Reflecting a boom for holidaying in the UK while international travel restrictions largely remained in place, the latest snapshot showed activity in accommodation and food services, as well as the arts, entertainment and recreation, contributed the most to growth in the service sector of the economy.

By Anusheh Khan on 29/11/2021