Four in ten Scots don’t think English travellers should be allowed in without quarantining

Matthew SmithLead data journalist
August 13, 2020, 11:00 PM UTC

A similar number of Welsh people feel the same way

As the summer holiday season began, groups of Scots began protests at the border demanding English tourists stay away rather than risk bringing coronavirus to Scotland.

Now the results of a new YouGov survey reveal that four in ten Scots (40%) oppose English people coming to Scotland if they don’t have to quarantine on arrival. They are, however, marginally outnumbered by the 47% of Scots who are fine with English tourists still being allowed in.

Politics likely plays a role. The majority of 2019 SNP voters (54%) want English travellers to stay away, while just 19% of Scottish Tory voters say the same. Likewise, ‘Yes’ voters from 2014 would block English tourists by 52% to 36%, while these figures are largely reversed among ‘No’ voters, who support allowing English tourists to cross the border by 55% to 30%.

Opposition is somewhat lower for tourists from Wales (29%), Northern Ireland (28%) and the Republic of Ireland (31%). Scots of all political dispositions are happy for travellers from these countries to make their way to Scotland.

Travellers from further afield are less welcome, however. Scots’ reluctance to allow tourists from continental Europe, the US and China is even greater than it was among Britons as a whole when we asked the same question at the end of June.

Welsh people are slightly more willing than Scots to accept travellers from the rest of the British Isles

The results in Wales are very similar to those in Scotland: 37% of Welsh people want English tourists to stay away compared to 50% who would welcome them. Again, politics plays a role, with 2019 Plaid Cymru voters the most likely to oppose English travellers at 54%.

Welsh people are slightly more supportive – or at least slightly less opposed – to people from the rest of Britain and Ireland coming to visit. And, as in Scotland, they are much more worried about tourists from continental Europe, the US and China.

Where would Scottish and Welsh people consider going on holiday this summer?

The survey also looked at whether Scots and Welsh people themselves would be willing to cross any borders – internal and international – for a summer holiday this year.

Few Scots would consider going to England (36%) or Wales (32%) on holiday this year. Welsh people are more willing to cross nearby borders: 49% are open to going to England, and 43% might hit up Scotland.

Both, however, are unlikely to go to Ireland or Northern Ireland, with about a quarter of Scots and Welsh people saying they might in both cases.

Willingness to travel further afield plummets by comparison. Among both national groups only 10-12% would be willing to visit any of the countries in continental Europe we asked about. China and the US are even less appealing: just 5-6% would consider going Stateside and a mere 2-3% say the same of China.

See the full results for Scotland and Wales