With the reopening of the UK borders planned after 17 May 2021, UK tourists are eager to return to travel and spending in Europe. 65% of them intend to travel abroad this year. Affluent tourists are the most likely to start travelling again soon, with 35% planning to travel during this summer’s holidays, versus 25% on average.
For summer 2021, their preferred destinations are influenced by sanitary conditions in relation to Covid-19, and are expected to be:
- Spain (30%), + 12pt vs 2019
- Greece (11%), + 7pt vs 2019
- Italy (9%), + 4pt vs 2019
- Portugal (9%), +5pt vs 2019
- France (6%), -5pt vs 2019
However, preferred destinations are likely to evolve now that the UK Government’s ‘red, amber and green lists' are now official. Portugal is on the green list, while Spain, Greece, Italy and France remain on the amber one.
As of 1 Janary 2021, UK tourists are no longer considered as residents of the EU and are therefore now eligible for Tax Free Shopping in European stores. With British tourists taking around 70 million trips to Europe in 2019 and representing a total spend of around £40Bn, this market offers a strong opportunity for European retailers. British residents are expected to spend approximatively €1.1billion in sales-in-store in Europe per year once post-pandemic activity has fully resumed.
Currently, only 45% of those surveyed are already aware of Tax Free Shopping, with the remaining 55% needing to be informed of their new eligibility in European stores. Overall, 60% said they are more likely to spend in shops at destination if they can claim back the VAT. They are most likely to spend on clothes and accessories (70%), wine and alcohol (45%) and perfume and cosmetics (45%).