British holidaymakers want to visit Spain, Greece and Italy – but most will wait until next summer

Simon Calder
Distant dream: Tui says Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico are top of the long-haul wish list: Tui

Spain, Greece and Italy top the holiday wish-list for British travellers – but most will wait until next summer for a foreign getaway.

As battles rage within government over the UK’s quarantine plans, Britain’s biggest travel firm says demand is strong for Mediterranean destinations.

Tui says the holidaymakers it polled revealed Spain, Greece and Italy are the top three locations “people intend to visit when they can”.

Among long-haul destinations, the most popular locations are Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico.

The top 10 also includes the Mediterranean nations of Croatia and Turkey, and the long-haul targets of Dubai and Thailand.

But fewer than half the holidaymakers surveyed plan to travel this year. The company said: “Forty-five per cent of us are hoping to take a holiday before summer 2021.”

In a more recent but smaller survey of subscribers to The Independent, only 28 per cent of respondents said they would travel abroad this summer.

For May and June 2021, Greece, Turkey and Florida are currently the most booked destinations.

Tui is seeing notable increases in demand for self-catering and villa holidays, reflecting the desire for social distancing.

The survey, conducted by One Poll, found that the most anticipated holiday activity is sightseeing, followed by eating “authentic local cuisine” and swimming in the sea.

An employee wears a face mask at a beach of Varkiza as Greece gradually eases lockdown restrictions (Getty Images)

The Anglo-German firm surveyed 2,000 people between 23 and 27 April 2020 – before the government had revealed its controversial quarantine plans, which are likely to depress demand for holidays.

On 22 May, the home secretary, Priti Patel, announced that almost all arrivals at UK airports, ferry ports and international rail terminals from 8 June will be required to self-isolate for two weeks.

The immediate effect of the quarantine policy was to stifle sales for summer travel; few holidaymakers are willing or able to spend 14 days at home, out of direct contact with family and friends, after their trip.

The Department for Transport is seeking to neutralise the measure by setting up "air bridge" arrangements that will allow returning travellers to avoid quarantine.

In addition, individual countries have expressed unwillingness to welcome UK visitors when destinations re-open to tourism.

Greece has excluded British holidaymakers, as well as those from France, Italy and Spain, from a list of 29 nationalities eligible to fly to the country from 15 June onwards.

Cyprus and Malta have also left the UK off their lists of “preferred tourists”.

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