Stay away, Europeans tell British tourists

Matthew SmithLead data journalist
July 08, 2020, 8:33 AM UTC

Chinese and American tourists are even less welcome

Last week the British government released a list of dozens of countries from which tourists could now enter the UK without being required to quarantine.

While welcomed by the tourism industry, a new YouGov survey shows that Britons are clearly opposed to the measures. Given a list of countries and asked whether they supported or opposed allowing tourists from those places to enter the UK without having to quarantine, Britons were more likely to be opposed in all cases.

In fact, across Europe and America people are generally opposed to allowing in foreign tourists, although this depends on the country.

Americans and Swedes opposed letting in tourists from any of the nationalities we put to them. Danes and Germans opposed all but one another, while Swedes and Finns opposed all but Danes.

The French tend to be happy to let in Germans and Scandinavians. Only Italians were broadly supportive of allowing in other Europeans – with the exception of Britons – although they are heavily opposed to allowing in Chinese and American tourists.

There were also some noticeable trends when it came to attitudes towards particularly countries…

Mainland Europeans want British holidaymakers to stay away…

People in France, Spain, Italy and Germany are all more likely to oppose British tourists coming for this summer than they are tourists from other European countries.

For instance, while 40-54% of Spaniards oppose tourists coming from a clutch of European nations, this figure rises to 61% for British tourists.

Likewise, in France the figure is 55% compared to 32-46% for other European countries’ tourists. In Italy it is 44% vs 29-38%, and in Germany it is 58% vs 34%-52%.

Click to enlarge

…Scandinavians are more wary of Swedes…

While Scandinavians are still reluctant to allow in British tourists, they are more preoccupied by Swedish holidaymakers. In Denmark, Norway and Finland, Swedish tourists are the most opposed of all European tourists, at 61%, 73% and 81% respectively. Sweden is unique among developed countries for having not instituted a coronavirus lockdown, and the consequently higher case rates are clearly making its neighbours nervous.

…and everyone is worried about American and Chinese tourists

People across Europe tend to be most worried by American and Chinese tourists, however. American tourists are the most opposed in all countries surveyed (except Sweden where they come second to Chinese tourists, and Finland where they come second to Swedes). Overall 61-79% of people in each country oppose allowing American tourists spending time in their country this summer.

Chinese tourists are similarly unpopular, with an opposition rate of 57-77%. They are the most opposed group of tourists in America and Sweden, and second most opposed in most of the other countries.

How coronavirus has affected British tourism

The study also looked at how willing people are to visit other countries this summer.

Coronavirus has clearly made people reluctant to travel abroad. In Britain no destination was considered by more than 21% of people. In fact, for any given country no fewer than 40% of Britons said they would not go there specifically because of coronavirus. Given that many people wouldn’t have gone to other countries for other reasons, this means that the vast majority of people who might normally consider going somewhere on holiday are refusing to do so specifically because of coronavirus.

Click to enlarge

In terms of the impact on tourism to Britain, a similar story plays out. Only 5-20% of people in the other countries studied said they were considering spending time in Britain this summer. Again, around four in ten or more say that coronavirus is keeping them away.

The sole exception here is France, where only 17% said this was the case, although this is because French people are far more likely to turn their noses up at the idea of ever going to Britain in the first place (71%, compared to 31-43% everywhere else).

A similar story of preferring to stay put this summer plays out for most countries (including the French not wanting to visit regardless of how disease-riddled other nations are).

Click to enlarge

See international topline results here and detailed British results here

Photo by Lina Kivaka from Pexels