Travel industry leaders are calling for a reduction in the cost of Covid-19 tests for travellers in order to stimulate demand when lockdown restrictions are eased.
Arrivals from destinations on the UK’s travel corridor list are exempt from quarantine when returning to the UK, but many of those countries require negative Covid tests for visiting tourists.
Negative PCR test results, which require lab analysis and typically cost about £120, are required for visitors to Dubai, which was added to the corridor list last week.
The government’s Global Travel Taskforce is also working on a ‘test and release’ strategy for the length of the quarantine in the UK to be reduced for destinations not on the corridors list. The detail of what tests will be allowed is to be confirmed by the taskforce, which is due to report this month.
Writing in a column for Travel Weekly, G Adventures’ EMEA managing director Brian Young said: “While progress on testing is incredibly encouraging news, the tests will still come at a cost to the customer. I hope, as the tests are rolled out, that these costs are reduced to avoid them becoming a deterrent to bookings.
“With travellers having to pay anything from £120-150 for PCR test, it’s crucial that the industry pushes for these costs to be reduced on what will be a breakthrough tool to facilitate travel.”
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of travel agency consortium the Advantage Travel Partnership, said the recent additions to the travel corridor list “offers the travel industry and our travel agent members some hope at being able to sell holidays to Brits in search of a post-lockdown getaway” but warned the “unpredictability of the travel corridors does not foster consumer confidence when it comes to travel planning”.
She said agents would “help cut through any confusion and provide advice on the latest entry requirements, such as evidence of a negative Covid test”, but called on cheaper tests to be accepted.
“We hope to see LAMP tests approved in the UK soon so that the price and accessibility of Covid tests will reduce, which will encourage more people to book and travel to help the travel industry survive this crisis,” she said.