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Airport testing a step in the right direction but financial constraints remain considerable barrier to UK travel recovery, says GlobalData

Potential shortening of the UK’s 14-day mandatory quarantine measures for certain travel destinations may help to restore some confidence in booking travel, but financial constraints remain a considerable barrier for recovery – with a total 51%* of UK travelers noting that they are concerned about their personal financial situation, according to a survey by data and analytics company GlobalData.

Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Right now, economic concerns are one of the most critical factors driving consumers’ decisions. Over the next month, 30% of GlobalData’s survey respondents said they see the economic situation in the UK getting ‘considerably worse’ and 43% see it getting ‘slightly worse’. Many are likely to ‘tighten their belts’, limiting output on recreational expenses such as international getaways.

“The initiative to reduce stringent quarantine measures through testing is a step in the right direction for healing consumer confidence but, as Brits’ financial worries intensify amid a slew of negative news, it is unlikely to lead to a boom in UK outbound travel for the remainder of 2020.”

UK travelers may have to pay up to £150 to do a single test once they have returned from overseas. While this may reduce the quarantine period significantly from 14 days to five, many may simply not have sufficient funds. Furthermore, as European airlines such as Ryanair continue to roll out significant discounts on travel bookings, tourists will be paying substantially more for their test upon arrival in the UK than the actual flight itself. In fact, the overall price of the holiday may even be cheaper than the test – as Hotels are also likely to drop prices in a bid to capture demand. 

In GlobalData’s survey, when asked ‘What best describes your current situation about your household (including yourself?)’, 55% of UK respondents selected ‘staying at home as much as possible’. 

“As the second wave of COVID-19 encroaches across Europe, travel is simply not a priority right now.”

Bonhill-Smith

Industry trade bodies have been urging the government to take action and reduce blanket quarantine restrictions. The introduction of airport testing will without doubt help heal some of the travel confidence that has been lost, marking a slight step towards recovery. However, it will not stimulate a surge in bookings – a lifeline that many operators are hoping for.

* Figure combined extremely concerned (21%) and ‘quite concerned’ (30%) responses

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