Nearly half of British adults view the cost of COVID-19 testing as a barrier to travel

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
May 12, 2021, 3:51 PM UTC
With foreign travel set to resume next week, several travel companies are making summer bookings more affordable by offering lower prices on COVID-19 test packages. But just days before the government announced the countries that would qualify for quarantine-free travel for British travellers, one of the world’s largest travel and tour operators announced it would offer COVID-19 testing packages starting at £20.

While TUI is not the first firm to provide affordable testing packages for people going to countries on the UK’s COVID-19 travel list, the German-based travel group’s offering is certainly the cheapest so far (the cost of a PCR test ranges between £60 to £160). The move comes at a time when roughly half of British adults (47%) view the financial costs of COVID-19 tests to be a barrier to international travel, according to new polling conducted by YouGov. 


Travel companies have expressed concern that the price of pre-departure and post-arrival tests would make holidaying out of reach for people who want to travel abroad, even to the countries deemed safe enough to make the UK’s green travel list. In addition to the costs of transportation, lodging and activities, travellers will now have to account for how COVID-19 testing factors into their budgets. 
 
Our data shows that one in two British adults thinks the cost of PCR testing will make a significant impact on their budget if they were to travel abroad this year (53%). An additional 27% believe it will make somewhat of an impact, further underscoring the concerns that holidaymaking may be too costly with the additional burden of COVID-19 testing fees. 
 
TUI’s move to cut the price of PCR tests amid concern that costs would be a barrier to overseas travel seems to be driving interest for quarantine-free travel. One in two British adults say they would be very or somewhat interested in travelling to a country on the UK’s green travel list if a PCR test cost £20 (50%). This figure is significantly higher among younger British adults, with 73% of people aged 18-24 expressing interest in visiting a country on the quarantine-free list, assuming COVID-19 testing is priced at £20.


International travel is back on the agenda for the UK starting 17 May, but it’ll emerge in a different form than we’ve ever seen before. Keeping up with how consumers view the changes to the UK’s travel guidelines – especially since the rules will be reviewed and updated every three weeks – will help brands respond quickly and appropriately to travel demand.

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MethodologyYouGov polled 1,200 British adults online on May 10, 2021 between 4:37pm and 5:07pm BST. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted by age, gender, education level, region, and social grade. Results are nationally representative of adults in Great Britain. The margin of error is 5% for the overall sample. Learn more about YouGov Direct.