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Holidays ‘worth £100bn’ lost amid Covid pandemic

Holiday Extras has warned that continued travel curbs will still deter holidaymakers, as it estimates Covid-19 rules account for a third of the holidays lost during the pandemic.

Its analysis of the market estimates that 129 million trips have been lost to the pandemic since it started in March 2020.

However, its research indicates that 45 million of those holidays were lost to the “bureaucracy and restrictive travel rules implemented by the government”, said the ancillaries provider.

“Those 129 million trips would have been worth £100 billion to the travel industry and therefore the wider economy, and the 45 million lost to travel rules worth £35 billion,” it added.

Since March 2020 Holiday Extras has been surveying UK travellers about their holiday plans and it has so far polled 12,000.

When polled in September and December 2021, more than 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 chief executive of Holiday Extras, said: “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.”

Holiday Extras calculated the market size calculation from its own data plus statistics from the Office for National Statistics and the Civil Aviation Authority.

Picture by kitzcorner/Shutterstock

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