Routine Covid-19 testing for passengers before boarding flights from Ireland should be implemented as an alternative to quarantine measures on arrival at their destination.

The Irish Travel Agents Association believes this will help to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus and work towards re-establishing global air connectivity after six months of travel restrictions.

This form of testing will help to rebuild consumer confidence in travel as well as reopening borders within the EU, according to the association.

Testing before departure, as this will ensure a “clean” environment throughout the travel process.

The ITAA believes testing on arrival has a negative impact on passenger confidence, as a positive test result will mean that the passenger will have to go into quarantine when they reach their destination.

The use of quick, accurate, easy to use and affordable testing measures could be an interim solution and have a positive effect on air travel in the coming weeks and months, the association says.

ITAA chief executive Pat Dawson said: “First and foremost, the safety and comfort of our customers is paramount to all ITAA member travel agents.

“We expect that there would be certain challenges involved in integrating these kinds of tests into the travel process, however we believe that this method is worth implementing in order to restore consumer confidence in international travel.

“It is essential that a global standard is developed and maintained for these tests so that all relevant parties can adhere to testing protocols.”

He added: “The current travel restrictions provide no relief to either inbound or outbound travel, which will have a knock on effect on the Irish travel industry well into the future.

“We believe that with the introduction of these testing measures, we will be able to restore a level of consumer confidence and begin to rebuild our industry.

“Irish people love to travel; as soon as it is declared safe to travel again we believe that consumer confidence will be restored. Until that happens, we must look into alternative measures to ensure that passengers have a safe and comfortable journey.”