Spending on holidays surged in the week that the UK government announced its roadmap out of the coronavirus lockdown, new research shows.
According to data from Lloyds Bank customer cards spending on holidays surged 109% compared to the week before prime minister Boris Johnson's announcement.
Figures showed that while total spending across the same period increased slightly, bookings soared at travel operators. Spending through travel agencies rose 102%, airlines 122%, cruise lines 85% and hotels 114%.
Off the back of the news, cultural exploits, including spending on music festivals and theatres, took in 272% more than the week prior.
Lloyds Bank data also showed that spending on fuel was slightly up (10%) compared to the week before, and when compared to February last year, the month before the first lockdown, fuel spend has dropped 24%. This indicates that people in the UK have continued to stick to the "stay at home" order currently in place for England.
Meanwhile it said that spending on the commute, which was heavily impacted by the current COVID-19 rules to work from home where possible, also remains well below February 2020 levels — down 68%.
The measures have also hit restaurants heavily, but have boosted supermarkets.
Lloyds Bank's figures indicate that spending in supermarkets in February this year continued to surge above pre-pandemic levels (up 26% year on year). While, online shopping, which accounts for 8% of supermarket transactions, was up from 4% in February 2020.
Spending at restaurants has been impacted by the pandemic, with numbers down 38% compared to last year.
However, online transactions account for almost two fifths (37%) of all transactions in the month, up from 11% last year showing some resilience as people order their take-aways from their favourite eateries.
Head of payments at Lloyds Bank, Gabby Collins, said: "People have really responded to the news that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. After a year at home, it’s no surprise that a trip away is top of the list for many, with spending on holidays surging 109% in the last week.
"However, year on year holiday spending is still down 77% and other sectors, restricted by lockdown, have some way to recover before comparisons can be made to spending pre-pandemic."
It comes as the UK government unveiled plans that require international travellers departing from England to fill out forms to be allowed to leave the country.
Those who fail to fill out the three-page forms face fines and being denied access to board flights under new travel rules coming into force from 8 March.
Currently, all travel, whether in the UK or overseas, is not permitted under the "stay at home" order. The earliest possible date for international travel for leisure from England is 17 May.
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