Insights to the future of the tourism industry

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Data and Insights

The past few months have had a huge impact on the tourism industry, and whilst no one can guarantee what the future will look like, there are many studies and surveys taking place to help give us an idea of what to expect.

We’ve gathered key insights from various sources to help build a picture going forward, including a range of regional, national and international forecasts. Over the coming months we’ll continue to share additional insights to help businesses plan to reopen, recover and rebuild.

If you’ve come across research that would be useful for other businesses in the Yorkshire tourism industry to read, please let us know at [email protected].


Inbound attitudes to travel

ONS has published the latest wave of it survey of attitudes to Covid among people arriving into the UK.

95% of overseas residents said that they understood UK restrictions “quite well” or “very well”, and 96% said that they felt “very confident” or “somewhat confident” in accessing UK restrictions. Only 2% felt not at all confident or not very confident in accessing information about the UK’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Also, 81% of UK residents and 87% of overseas residents in January 2022) think having a coronavirus (COVID-19) test prior to arrival is either “very important” or “quite important” for safety so there seems to be a very high level of acceptance that testing before travel is the right things to do.


2nd March

Transport usage

The latest wave of DFT’s weekly transport usage survey has been released, it covers 5 days since covid restrictions were removed.

The initial data does not suggest that there has been a sudden surge in public transport use with National Rail usage remaining about 60% of normal.

Employment Figures

ONS has published new data on employment in the UK from 2014 to 2021. This includes a section on the accommodation and food services which highlights both the impact of Covid and Brexit on employment in the sector. Some of the key findings are:

  • 296,000 employees in the sector were EU nationals in July 2014. Up to June 2019, this increased by 105,000 to 401,000, a 35% increase
  • 205,000 employees were non-EU nationals in July 2014. Up to June 2019, this increased by 17,000 to 223,000, an 8% increase
  • Between June 2019 and June 2021, the number of EU nationals fell by 98,000 to 303,000, a 25% decrease. Comparatively, payrolled employments held by non-EU nationals remained close to the same level as in June 2019 at 222,000
  • Between June 2019 and June 2021, accommodation and food services saw the largest decrease of employment of any sector. The total number of employees decreased by 124,000, largely due to a drop of 98,000 EU national employees.

Willingness To Self-Isolate

ONS has also published the latest wave of research on public attitudes to Covid. The data was collected while it was a legal requirement to self-isolate. However, there is a section that asks people whether they would still self-isolate if it was not a legal requirement. In response to this, 72% of people said that they would be willing to self-isolate even if it is no longer a legal requirement. This is close to the 80% of the people that said that they were currently complying with the self-isolation requirement.

Financial Impact For Business Rate Fund Applications

In December the Government launched a £1.5bn Business Rates Fund to be distributed by Local Authorities to those businesses most impacted by Covid but not eligible for the Hospitality and Leisure Business Rates Relief.

The Tourism Alliance has been working with ONS to produce financial impact data for tourism businesses using the same methodology used in Business Rates Fund guidance for councils.

This data has now been published and shows that:

  • 8.2% of all businesses in the UK are suffering from a revenue decline of 50%+
  • 12.2% of all hospitality and tourism business are suffering from a revenue decline of 50%+
  • 16.2% of businesses in the coaching, language school and events support sectors are suffering a revenue decline of 50%+
  • 66.9% of tour operators, travel agents and guiding services are suffering a revenue decline of 50%+

We urge councils to prioritise the allocation of Business Rates Funding to our sector.


Impact of Covid on Tourism and Hospitality

ONS has released the latest wave of ongoing research on the impact of Covid on businesses and regions of the UK

There is a dataset that sits behind this which compares the impact of Covid on the Tourism and Hospitality sector and compares this to UK businesses as a whole.

There are datasets on:

  • Trading status
  • Workforce status
  • Cash reserves
  • Net turnover balances

These datasets not only compare tourism and hospitality businesses to all UK businesses on all these criteria but also split this down to a regional level so you can see the impacts of covid on tourism and hospitality businesses in Yorkshire. You can access the data here.


Museum and Gallery Visits

DCMS have published data on visitor numbers to the national museums and galleries. The data is to the end of December 2021 but shows that there is considerable ground to recover to return visitor number of pre-covid levels. The tables show that visitor number per month recovered to 45% of pre-covid level in October 2021 but dropped to 38% when Omicron struck in December


Attitudes To Travel

Department for Transport (DfT) has published the sixth wave of their survey on public attitudes to travel – although some caution should be exercised as the survey was conducted in September, it has taken four months for DfT to process this data. Some of the key findings are:

  • 89% said that they hadn’t flown overseas in the past 12 months
  • 85% said that they wanted information on travel restrictions and quarantine requirements
  • 29% of respondents indicated that they would consider using a plane in over a year’s time
  • 6% said that they would never fly again
  • 72% and 70% reported that they would either feel very concerned or fairly concerned if they were to use planes or cruise ships

International Sea Travel

DfT has published new figures on international sea travel. The figures for 2021 show that travel between the UK and Ireland was down 67% from normal last year while travel to and from mainland Europe was down 75%.


Financial Impact Survey - January 2022

Welcome to Yorkshire together with the Tourism Alliance have conducted a survey to establish how the Government can best assist the region’s tourism and hospitality businesses.

The results of this survey will be shared with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and with Yorkshire MPs, helping decision makers to develop long-term solutions as we recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

The summary of results for businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber are:

  • We received 224 responses
  • 34% of businesses have seen revenue decline by over 50%
  • Over a quarter of businesses have had cancellation rates of over 50% for Q1
  • 2022
  • 37% of businesses have booking levels at least 25% below pre-covid levels for Q1 2022
  • 55% of businesses have less than two months cash reserves
  • 32 % of business are “at least likely or very likely to fail”

The suggested government support measures which ranked highest in Yorkshire and the Humber were:

  1. Additional sector specific grants
  2. Government reassurance on the safety of travel
  3. Retaining the 12.5% VAT rate

Read the full breakdown of results here.


Social Impacts of Coronavirus

24th January

ONS has published the latest wave of research on the social impacts of Coronavirus.

  • 1 in 10 adults reported self-isolating in the past seven days
  • 87% of people still feel that social distancing is important
  • Only 35% of people reported they expect life to return to normal in more than a year (it will be interesting to see in this figure increases significantly after restrictions are removed on 27th January)


Centre for Cities - Covid Impact on our High Streets

Centre for Cities have taken an in-depth look at the state of high streets to get a sense of the short-term impact of the pandemic on town and city centres and the long-term consequences and implications this has for the Government’s levelling up agenda.

Yorkshire’s towns and city centres face the challenge of attracting people back once it is safe to do so, and as expected, the study confirms hospitality was the worst affected of all high street sectors.

Amongst the 52 town and city centres studied, Leeds had the most potential sales lost in our region with 39 weeks lost between the first lockdown and Omicron, ranking 10th highest in the overall study.

Huddersfield lost the fewest weeks of sales (12 weeks) during the pandemic in our region, ranking third in the overall research behind Burnley and Warrington. Wakefield (13 weeks) and Barnsley (14 weeks) were not far behind.

Bradford performed best in our region for store vacancy changes between March 2020 and June 2021 – however the city does have the 4th highest share of vacant units (27.6%).

Hull (23.8%) and Huddersfield (23.3%) also make the top 10 of vacant units overall. York has the smallest share of vacant units in our region with 11.4% of the city standing empty.

The study suggests the Government’s Covid-19 support was successful some areas but warns that that many places in the North face a wave of new business closures this year.

Policy makers are encouraged to run campaigns aimed at bringing leisure visitors back when safe to do so and providing part-time season tickets to encourage workers back to the office. The Levelling Up White Paper should focus on dealing with struggling places’ fundamental economic problems to address high street decline. This means investing in skills and ways to strengthen the wider local economy.

Find the full Centre for Cities study here.

Find out more about Welcome to Yorkshire’s financial impact survey results.


7th January 2022

The latest wave of ONS’s survey on the social impacts of Coronavirus have been published. It covers the period between the 15th December and 3rd January. Results which show the impact on tourism and hospitality businesses are:

    • Only 29% of people said that they were meeting up with family or friends in restaurants, pubs, bars or cafes (down from 34% previously)
    • Only 13% said that they were going to a Christmas market (down from 22% previously)
    • 35% said that they expect it would take more than a year for life to return to normal (interestingly, only 20% said that at Xmas in 2020 when vaccines were first being rolled-out, indicating that people are more pessimistic than they were a year ago).


​3rd December

The latest wave of ONS’s regular survey of the social impacts of Coronavirus has been published on 3rd December 2021. Some of the key findings are:

    • 7% adults had been asked to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test in the past seven days (excluding for travel abroad), most commonly to attend a theatre or comedy performance (25%), an indoor concert (19%), a nightclub or bar (16%), a work or training event (14%) or a sporting event (11%).
    • 84% of adults reported they wore a face covering when outside their home in the past seven days, while 39% reported they always or often maintained social distancing when outside their home.
    • While 71% of adults reported wearing a face covering often or always while shopping and the whole time while travelling on public transport in the past seven days, just 19% and 21% said that everyone or almost everyone was wearing a face covering in the same respective settings.


COVID-19 Consumer Tracker

VisitEngland, VisitScotland and Visit Wales have commissioned a Covid-19 consumer sentiment tracking survey to understand domestic intent to take overnight trips, both within the UK and abroad.

The survey addresses areas such as: current attitude to travel (incl. concerns around travel and reassurances needed from the tourism sector), intentions of UK residents to travel for day trips, short breaks and holidays, when they plan to book and when they plan to go on their trip, as well as the destination, type of location and accommodation of their intended trip. 

Download the full document (PDF)


Visit Britain insights

COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Tracker from VisitBritain

VisitBritain are releasing weekly results from their tracking survey to understand domestic intent to take short breaks and holidays within the UK, addressing likelihood of travel, when and where people plan to visit and the type of reassurances they are seeking.

Click here for 23 Aug - 6 Sep 2021.

Click here for November 2021


Updated COVID-19 inbound impact forecast

VisitBritain have revised the 2020 inbound impact forecast following the COVID-19 outbreak. Due to a near total shutdown of the international tourism sector due to the pandemic, the revised scenario as of 3 June is a 59% decline in visits to 16.8 million, and a 63% decline in spend, to £10.6 billion. However, this is a fast-moving situation and the forecast is subject to revision.


Welcome to Yorkshire Insights

March 2021 survey results into consumer sentiment for holidaying in Yorkshire

Results from the Vypr recovery survey commissioned by Welcome to Yorkshire, tracking consumer sentiment for holidaying in Yorkshire post-Christmas 2020 and after the announcement of the roadmap out of restrictions. Click here for the results.

Welcome to Yorkshire Hospitality Business Survey Results 

Understanding the ongoing implications and restrictions around COVID-19. Click here for the results.

Welcome to Yorkshire recovery Survey Results Revealed
Results from the Welcome to Yorkshire recovery survey, which focused on tourism businesses concerns for the future, and the support required to ease these, can be found here.

Digital Traffic Points Towards Tourism Recovery
In the month of May, saw traffic increase by 47% compared to April.


Tourism Sector-specific Insights

Accommodation Survey Results
Great National Hotel & Resorts have shared the results from their COVID-19 sentiment survey and the results can be viewed here. Thank you to Online Hoteliers Forum for sharing this information.

The Great Inns of Britain publishes results of customer intention survey
Research from the marketing consortium of quality inns, including Yorkshire’s Shibden Mill Inn at Halifax and The Blue Lion at East Witton, suggests nearly 70% of people plan to book a UK break when lockdown ends.

Hotel Solutions Briefing
Download the new briefing from Hotel Solutions which pulls together a range of research and initiatives happening across the tourism and hospitality sector. 

Pubs reopening - The Return of the Pub 

ROTP is a brand new research study designed to understand the future behaviours and attitudes of pub customers when lockdown measures are eased. Defining the ‘new normal’ for pub experiences in the UK. Download the PDF.


Business and consumer insights

Office for National Statistics Business Impact COVID-19 Survey
Fortnightly updates of the results are being released from the survey.

Impact of Covid-19 on DCMS Sectors – Committee Meeting 
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee listened to evidence in two sessions on the impact of COVID-19 on DCMS sectors.

Consumer Sentiment Tracking by BVA-BDRC and Alligator
Positivity that the worst has passed is increasing among the British public, with 85% planning their next UK holiday according to this research.

Market Research Society's Index of Trackers and Studies
Find out about multiple research trackers and studies being launched to track attitudes and behaviours.


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