Axed holidays and losses from travel rules cost UK £135bn

Holidaymakers are still facing exceptional losses in both trips and hard-earned cash – despite the relaxation of pre-departure tests for fully-vaccinated inbound travellers.

Experts estimate a staggering £135billion has been lost because of the effects of coronavirus.

Analysis by 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 45 million holidays were axed because of bureaucracy and restrictive travel rules implemented by UK governments.

Those 129 million trips would have boosted the wider economy by £100billion, while the 45 million lost to travel rules is estimated to be worth £35billion.

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.

But since the end of 2021, research has shown that British holidaymakers are put off travelling more by unpredictable changes to the travel rules than the virus itself.

When last polled in September and December, 59 per cent of respondents said they were deterred from travelling by ever-changing government rules, three times as many as the 20 per cent still being put off by the virus itself, and far more than the 10 per cent whose destination was closed.

Get the latest travel and staycation news sent straight to your inbox

Dreaming of when you may be able to go on holiday again and where that might be? Want the latest travel and staycation news sent straight to your inbox to help you plan ahead?

Sign up here for regular updates on the latest travel advice, plus top destinations and wonderful places to stay post-Covid.

When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use you data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Matthew Pack, chief executive of Holiday Extras,said: “While the relaxation of testing 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.”

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.