PCR test changes UK: Birmingham travel company reports boom in holiday bookings
The government’s new measures means families could save hundreds of pounds on not having to buy PCR tests
and live on Freeview channel 276
The manager of a travel agency in Birmingham has spoken of her relief following the government’s announcement that pre-departure Covid tests for travellers arriving in England will be scrapped - and said her company has experienced a boom in holiday bookings following the rule change.
From 4pm on Friday, (January 7) fully vaccinated travellers coming into England will no longer have to take a test before they travel.
Lianne Davenport, the manager of Moseley Travel in Alcester Road, Moseley, said her company has had an increase in enquiries following the government’s announcement.
Speaking to BirminghamWorld, she said: “We’ve definitely had an increase in demand since the announcement.
“People are used to the fact that testing is a big thing at the moment so just relaxing it that little bit has definitely helped.”
What did the government say about Covid travel restrictions?
Boris Johnson announced last night (January 5), that pre-departure testing will no longer be required for travellers returning to England and arrivals will not have to isolate until they get a negative PCR test.
Instead, the rules will revert to the system in place in October, with travellers required to take a lateral flow test no later than the end of day two after their arrival.
In a Commons statement, the Prime Minister said the Omicron variant is now so prevalent in the country that the measure is having limited impact on the spread of the disease.
The measures mean families could save hundreds of pounds on not having to buy so many tests.
How have the testing changes affected the industry?
Lianne said that Moseley Travel has experienced an increase in bookings and enquiries.
She said: “January and February tend to be the peak booking periods, but with all the uncertainty last month we weren’t sure how we were going to be affected but we’ve definitely had an increase in demand since the announcement.
“Holidays for the summer are now selling well, particularly family holidays, I think people have missed out on almost two years of proper holidays.
“We’re even seeing an increase in bookings for 2023.
“People are used to the fact that testing is a big thing at the moment so just relaxing it that little bit has definitely helped.
“It was a relief, myself, colleagues and friends in the industry were all a bit like, ok, hopefully now we’re now on the right footing and things will start to pick up.”
After the industry began to recover, the spread of Omicron once again had a huge impact, and Lianne says more needs to be done to help the industry.
“We had a really strong October and strong November, but then December hit and everything changed.
“You see the drop in confidence and we have some really loyal clients who will go as long as it’s safe but when their attitude starts to change a little bit you can see that the messages that are being put out there do have an impact on people’s thinking.”
She added: “Removing all of the restrictions on travel would help, and the cost of testing needs to be reduced.
“We would hope to see the cost of PCR / Antigen tests for travel reduced.
“That’s a big thing especially if there’s a family travelling and there’s not just one test it all adds up and onto the bookings.”
Sukhwinder Singh, the manager of Jays Travel in Smethwick, said he was also pleased with the government’s announcement, but is wary of the threat of new variants.
“It is slightly more hopeful now,” he said. “But as we have seen from the last year or so, the rules changes are made for a week or so but then if a new variant emerges in any other country then rules can change.
“And many other countries are still asking for PCR tests. So it is a slight positive but not huge.
“I think all the countries need to agree on the rules and just keep one format for travel.”
‘It’s a massive boost for the sector’
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of the industry body Airlines UK, said it would be a “massive boost” for the sector at a “critical” time of the year.
“People will now be able to book knowing that – for the fully vaccinated – all emergency testing restrictions have been removed,” he said.
“Today marks an important step towards learning to live alongside the virus, helping passengers and the travel sector look ahead to what will be an all-important spring and summer season.”
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren also welcomed the move but said the government needed to go further.
“This will make travel much simpler and easier and means our customers can book and travel with confidence,” he said.
“However, the Government must now urgently take the final step towards restriction-free travel and remove the last remaining unnecessary test for vaccinated travellers so flying does not become the preserve of the rich.”
Which deals have proved popular at Moseley Travel?
Here are some of the deals which are proving popular at Moseley Travel at the moment.
26 January - 7 nights - Fuerteventura - 3* Caybeach Caleta Apartments - Self Catering: £236 per person (pp) from Birmingham
11 March - 14 nights - Algarve - 3* Oceanus Aparthotel - Self Catering: £242pp from Birmingham
02 March - 7 nights - Cyprus - 4*plus Coral Beach Hotel - inc breakfast: £382 from Birmingham
Valentine’s Weekend City Break:
12 February - 3 nights - Prague - 4* Hotel Theatrino - including breakfast: £149pp from Birmingham
Early Summer Luxury Break:
19 April - 7 nights - Croatia - 5* Hotel Croatia - including breakfast: £334pp from Birmingham
Family Summer Holidays:
17 August - 7 nights - Corfu - 3* Sungate Hotel - all inclusive: £1760 for a family of 4, from Birmingham
27 July - 7 nights - Turkey - 3* Celay Hotel - inc breakfast: £406pp from Birmingham
Bucket List Adventures:
04 May - 5 nights Toronto & Niagara Falls - including 2 nights Toronto and 3 nights Niagara Falls: £765pp from Heathrow
25 April - 10 day India Tour - taking in Delhi, the Taj Mahal & Jaipur: £972pp from Heathrow
01 September - Bali & Singapore - including 7 nights Bali & 2 nights Singapore: £1175pp from Heathrow
Find out more, here.
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. BirminghamWorld is Birmingham’s latest news website, championing everything that is great about our city - reporting on news, lifestyle and sport. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.