Covid-19 travel restrictions have cost the UK economy £4.45 billion in just one week due to the huge reduction in business trips.
Figures released by the Business Travel Association (BTA) revealed the loss of GDP to the nation during the final week of July, as international business trip were down by 86% on 2019 levels meaning nearly 340,000 fewer corporate journeys.
The data also showed that travel restrictions to the US cost the UK £528 million in lost GDP during the week, while this figure was even higher for France at £547 million as the country was on the “amber plus” list forcing all travellers to quarantine on their return to the UK, regardless of vaccination status.
Travel restrictions also cost an estimated £485 million in lost trade with Germany during the week, and £363 million in GDP with Spain - all from the decline in business travel trips to these countries.
The BTA has been tracking the lost income caused by current travel restrictions over the past 10 weeks using data from specialist Travelogix. It covers the drop in business travel from 10 key international routes as well as domestic travel in the UK.
Earlier this week, the association’s chief executive Clive Wratten welcomed the government’s expansion of the green and amber lists as a “leap forward in the return of safe international travel”.
“The government has taken the right and strong decisions in abandoning plans for watchlists and removing France’s unique amber plus status,” he said. “These were potentially calamitous moves which would have jeopardised the future of the whole travel and aviation supply chains.
“It will take some time for business travel to return at scale, but this enables our sector to contribute to UK GDP and the international trading reputation of our country once more.”