Anxiety over fluid quarantine restrictions coupled with economic concerns are posing a threat to post-Covid recovery of the travel sector, according to new research.

Almost half of UK travellers are worried about the economic impact of the pandemic, pushing holiday taking down the list of financial priorities, data and analytics company GlobalData warned.

Johanna Bonhill-Smith, travel and tourism analyst at the firm, said: “The idea of a ‘swift recovery’ of tourism post Covid-19 has been thwarted.

“Ongoing fluidity of the UK’s air bridges, coupled with economic constraints and general anxiety, means that the UK outbound market will be decimated in 2020 and will likely be further affected in 2021.

“According to GlobalData’s latest consumer recovery survey, 45% of UK travellers are ‘extremely concerned’ about their current economic situation. Holidays are a non-essential so as budgets tighten and economic concerns grow, holidays won’t be a priority for many.”

She added: “The same survey found that anxiety is currently the most common feeling amongst UK consumers. Venturing on holiday is an attempt to relax and unwind, but the prospect of having to scramble home to avoid blanket quarantine measures will have the opposite effect, deterring them from booking.

“The UK government has consistently been criticised for its approach to handling Covid-19, including most recently the blanket quarantine policies.

“With Wales and Scotland now introducing their own measures for quarantine, we are witnessing a lack of a unified approach, which will further add to the confusion and anxiety regarding travel in 2020.

“German and Italian governments have proposed that European Union member states should co-operate on monitoring tourists through mutual Covid-19 checks on both sides to decrease the infection.

“Until a vaccine is put in place, a policy such as this could be an effective and efficient way to manage risks, ensuring travel can continue without additional stress.

“If the ‘quarantine roulette’ persists and the UK continues to operate a disjointed approach, this will only heighten consumer concerns over travel plans, likely prolonging travel recovery.”