In response to Wednesday’s announcement (5 January) that the UK government is scrapping the pre-departure Covid 19 testing for anyone arriving into England (and Wales), from Friday 7 January and switching the day 2 PCR for a lateral flow, Alistair Rowland, Chief Executive for long-haul tour operator, Blue Bay Travel, and Chair of ABTA, said:
“The scrapping* of the restrictive travel testing measures imposed by the UK government in December, in a bid to slow the spread of the Omicron variant, is a relief for the travel industry and great news for holidaymakers.
“The pre-departure test, which has been scrapped in England and Wales, was a major worry for British travellers who feared testing positive on holiday, getting stuck in quarantine abroad and landed with a hefty bill for the privilege. Ditching the pre-departure test and switching the post-arrival Day 2 PCR tests for cheaper lateral flow tests, which could save families hundreds of pounds in testing fees, will help the travel industry enormously and give customers the confidence to book that well-earned getaway.
“Post-Christmas is traditionally a really busy time for holiday sales but concerns over the testing requirements had been holding people back, until now. We’re anticipating a bookings boom for January, following yesterday’s news, and are already seeing an uptick in demand from our customers. In the hour following the announcement (4-5pm) on 5 Jan, visits to the Blue Bay Travel website were up 285 per cent on the hour before the announcement (3-4pm) and traffic on our social media channels was up 827 per cent on Wednesday, compared with Tuesday.
“Yesterday (5 January) was our busiest day, in terms of website traffic and booking enquiries, in over a year. The volume of enquiries received yesterday matched that of January 2020 daily levels, which is something we couldn’t have imagined a month ago, when these testing rules came in and consumer confidence plummeted.
“Our most popular destination for bookings right now is the Maldives, as customers seek to treat themselves to barefoot luxury and total escapism, following almost two years of lockdowns and travel restrictions. The Maldives is closely followed by Dominican Republic, Mauritius, Mexico and Thailand.”
Blue Bay Travel