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Covid Survey - Testing Would Restart The Travel Sector

Ian Raine September 03rd, 2020 1,451 views

Holiday Quarantine

Covid-19 and the government response in the form of lockdowns and travel restrictions have caused a catastrophic drop off in demand for overseas holidays and travel during 2020.
In May, the travel industry, along with many other sectors, began looking forward to the “new normal”, with the hope that demand for holidays would begin to recover as lockdown restrictions were eased and consumer confidence returned. However, a blanket 2 week quarantine requirement on all travellers arriving into the UK, announced on 22nd May by the Home Secretary Priti Patel, choked off any recovery in the sector until well after other lockdown restrictions were relaxed.
Not until 10th July, when the UK Government released a “Travel Corridor” list did any meaningful recovery in demand begin to return. This was a list of countries that the Government believed presented minimal risk to the spread of Covid-19 to the UK, and passengers were no longer required to quarantine on arrival into the UK. Whilst there were some popular holiday destinations that did not feature on the list, including Egypt, Bulgaria & Portugal, there were others including Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Malta & Turkey. The inclusion of these destinations created a significant uplift in demand with search volumes for holidays more than doubling instantly.
Covid-19 Infographic 
This recovery in demand however was short lived, and consumer confidence plummeted when on Saturday 25th July, the UK Government announced that Spain together with the Canary Islands and the Balearics were to be removed from the Travel Corridor list, and the Foreign Office advised against all but essential travel to these destinations.
The effect of the sudden removal of the most popular destinations for UK holiday makers resulted in a collapse in demand overnight. Cheekytrip experienced an instant drop in traffic and holiday searches of over 50% for the restricted Spanish destinations. Within hours, search volumes overall had dropped by over 50%, demonstrating the wider effect of the sudden quarantine announcement, and the severe knock on effect on other destinations and the resultant decline in confidence amongst the travelling public.
Further decisions by the UK Government to remove more popular destinations continued over the following weeks including Malta, Netherlands & France. Then, on Saturday 22nd August, Portugal, a popular holiday destination with British holidaymakers, was added to the Travel Corridor list and finally there was a little optimism. Following this announcement, Cheekytrip saw an immediate bounce in demand, with searches for Portugal surging by 1,115% compared to the week prior, and overall website traffic increasing by 116%.
In order to try and quantify the impact of the government’s quarantine requirement we have recently conducted a survey to gauge consumer sentiment relating to travelling overseas and specifically to the government’s quarantine policy. In the results we discovered that only 38% were deterred from taking an overseas holiday due to concerns about contracting Covid-19
However 79% would be more likely to travel on an overseas holiday, if the current fourteen day quarantine requirement was replaced by a testing system on return to the UK.
It is clear from the results of our survey, that were the current quarantine requirement to be replaced by a testing regime, the demand for overseas holidays would recover dramatically.


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