129 million trips lost to Covid
While the relaxation of pre-departure tests for fully-vaccinated inbound travellers is welcome, the remaining rules still look set to cost the travel industry – and holidaymakers themselves – in both trips and hard-earned cash.
New analysis by leading travel extras company Holiday Extras shows that since the start of the pandemic 129 million trips have been lost to the pandemic, but of those 129 million 45 million holidays were lost to the bureaucracy and restrictive travel rules implemented by the government. Those 129 million trips would have been worth GBP100bn to the travel industry and therefore the wider economy and the 45 million lost to travel rules worth GBP35bn.
Ever since March 2020 Holiday Extras has been asking UK travellers whether they are planning to fly, and if not, what’s putting them off taking a trip overseas – polling 12,000 UK holidaymakers to date. Inevitably, at the start of the pandemic, the reality of lockdown, closed borders and uncertainty around the virus prevented all but the most essential trips.
Since the end of 2021, Holiday Extras’ market research has shown that British holidaymakers are put off travelling more by unpredictable changes to the travel rules than are put off by the virus itself. When last polled in September and December, over half (59%) of respondents said they were deterred from travelling by ever-changing government rules, three times as many as the 20% still being put off by the virus itself and far more than the 10% whose destination was closed.
Matthew Pack, Group CEO of Holiday Extras, commented: “While the relaxation of the testing requirements for inbound travel will give holidaymakers a confidence boost and help the sector recover, the cost and hassle associated with private lateral flow tests is still a barrier for many – and will continue to cost us all in both trips and much-needed revenue.
“Since the start of the pandemic our business alone has lost 11 million bookings to the pandemic, and more than three million of those were people put off travelling by the unpredictable changes to government travel rules. People can’t keep giving up their holidays, and travel companies can’t keep losing money, to travel rules that seem to change every day but achieve nothing – the government needs to support the industry and make travel as simple as possible.”
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