New research out today has warned that delays in passport processing could cost £1.1 billion in cancelled trips this summer. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) said it estimated a 50% probability of a “successful and timely” passport renewal process for travellers based on current reports.
More than one million people applied for a new passport in March and the Passport Office is expecting to process almost 10 million applications in 2022. The unprecedented demand has seen people told they can expect to wait up to 10 weeks for a new document and it’s vital mistakes aren’t made during the application process.
Now Cebr says: “Data from the VisitBritain Covid-19 Consumer Sentiment Tracker shows that more than two in five are planning an overseas trip in the coming 12 months. Assuming that passport holders are somewhat more likely to have travel plans than the population as a whole and that a quarter of those will have made a booking leaves just under one million holidaymakers at risk due to the delays.”
Her Majesty’s Passport Office has denied there was a backlog in passport processing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. But it said there was huge demand after five million Brits delayed applying for passports when travel was restricted. There have been warnings of cancelled holidays due to delays in processing applications as demand recovered from the pandemic, with the passport office advising travellers to apply 10 weeks in advance.
The number of valid UK passports fell by more than 2.5 million during the first two calendar years of the Covid-19 pandemic as people delayed applications. A total of 48.9 million passports were in circulation at the end of last year – 2.6 million fewer than at the end of 2019.