Growing UK Consumer Concerns on Rising Costs Risk Damaging Travel Next Year
The UK Government has confirmed that PCR tests for passengers returning to England will be replaced by cheaper and easier lateral flow test in time for the October half-term holidays.
The move will be welcome by many family looking to get away during the school break, possibly for the first time in more than two years.
The cost saving will be most welcome with many families’ cash-strapped and facing up to an expensive winter of increased fuel bills and general inflation caused by the HGV driver shortage.
However, The Post Office is reporting a “surging demand” for foreign exchange. In September, Euro sales were more than treble those earlier in the summer as well as being double the volume sold last September.
Furthermore, Croatia’s Kuna has risen to third place in its list of currency bestsellers with sales more than 1,200% year-on-year in the last month.
The Post Office say Turkey is the best value destination for this half term. The rise in Euro sales would support airline seat capacity data that has Spain as the most popular half-term holiday hotspot.
Having just returned from overseas, the financial saving of not having to take a second PCR on retuning to England would have been most welcome, and should help boost half term holiday sales. The overall cost of the Covid testing requirements made the holiday significantly more expensive.
However, the stress and worry associated with taking the tests, sending them to a lab and fretting on the results is probably as much a barrier to people booking holidays. Having just gone through the horrible experience of taking a PCR test and sending it off, now the realisation of a potential 10-day quarantine has kicked in.
Hopefully, for next summer such testing will no longer be a requirement for travelling overseas. If it is, then the Government needs to simplify it even further. The costs, hassle, stress and potential ramification of catching Covid on holiday would leave many people to question the benefits and worth of an overseas summer holiday – even if they have not travelled since the summer of 2019.
Hopefully the previously mentioned challenges the UK could face this winter will not put too much of a stretch on people’s holiday budgets. However, research from publisher Mail Metro Media shows that the rising cost of living has overtaken Covid as people’s major concern. This focus could impact have an impact on the all-important post-Christmas/ January summer holiday bookings, and run dangerously into 2022.
There is quite a bit of positive data around at the moment regarding people’s desires to go ‘holiday crazy’ in 2021.
WTM London research, to be unveiled at the event next month, highlights that holidays – and lots of them – are top of UK consumers 2022 wish-lists. The previously cited Mail Metro Media research, reveals 33% of people plan to travel to Europe next year – compared to 22% that planned to visit Europe in 2021. Almost one fifth (19%) of people are “desperate to visit their bucket list destinations in 2022”.
The will is clearly there from people to travel overseas next year. The Government needs to make sure the hurdles put in place to travel do not dampen demand in 2022.