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Testing Time for Tourism

  • Pre-departure Covid-19 test for both departures and arrivals to and from the UK
  • An international travel ban with an exception on travelling for work
  • Existing 10-day quarantine restrictions upon return

We have been anticipating them for almost 10 months since the start of this new world we live in and these new travel laws have finally come into place. However, this news has come as a devastating blow to what could have a detrimental impact on the tourism industry. Especially to those countries who rely heavily on tourism as their primary source of income.

From the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean, some countries’ tourism industry makes up at least 40% of the economy. In the last year this has been significantly affected by the lack of travellers and the spending they bring with them. Understandably, according to UNWTO (United Nation World Tourism Organization), international travel declined by at least 70%.
With Asia and the Pacific declining the most with an 82% decrease in arrivals from January to October 2020. The Middle East recorded a 73% decline, while Africa saw a 69% drop this ten-month period. International arrivals in both Europe and the Americas declined by 68% (UNWTO, 2020).

Of course, it is understandable that the travel ban and testing requirements are a necessity to significantly help reduce the spread of Covid-19, but you can’t help but feel for these countries and how it will affect them and if they will be able to survive this non-existent travel period. Will they be able to keep their countries functioning for when travel can resume? Are they going to be able to keep their residents working in a way that won’t bankrupt them?

When travel does resume to a point when it is deemed “normal” there is a never ending list of questions we all want to know.
          Will testing remain in place for the foreseeable?
          At what point can countries declare testing is not required?
          If you have the vaccine, will you still need tests to prove you aren’t a carrier?
          If every country requires pre-departure testing what does this mean for cruise ships?

If the answer to all of these questions is yes, this is going to further heavily impact the travel economy. It adds cost and complexity to anyone that wishes to travel.

To put into perspective, those in a family of four with two children over the age of 11, that’s a total of 8 pre-departure tests to pay for, on top of flights, hotels, food and other activities. The added cost is at least £800 (with an estimation each test costs £100) and prices will be different wherever you go. Which for the majority of people is unfeasible. And with rumours of Hotel Quarantine floating about, how much could this impact further like those who are still able to currently travel for work?

All our questions are yet to be answered and it will be a long time away before we can travel like what we remember as normal.

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