A leading agency boss has sent a 99p Christmas e-card to transport secretary Grant Shapps to highlight how PCR tests are “expensive and prohibitive”.
Phil Nuttall, owner of the Travel Village Group, sent the card (pictured) which shows the three wise men approaching baby Jesus with the message: “It has cost them a fortune in PCR tests but eventually they arrived in Bethlehem.”
Inside the card, addressed to Shapps, Nuttall writes: “I know your Christmas is going to be much better than mine or all my friends in the travel industry. Love from all travel agents Thanks for nothing.”
He questioned whether the trade should continue planning for peaks when agents and operators do not know what Covid testing requirements will be in January. The government is set to review recently-introduced Covid measures on December 18. A policy review of the wider travel rules is expected in the new year.
Nuttall told Travel Weekly: “The fact that is we’re having conversations with tour operators about planning for peaks but the government has not learnt anything.
“Now we’re in the situation where the government is not going to tell us anything for two weeks, so what do we do with the marketing millions? They’ve got no understanding of the industry. It’s blatant disregard and arrogance.”
He said there was “no point” in talking directly with the government because the trade would “not get anything from it”.
Nutall’s gave the example of a family-of-four, who booked through his business, who must pay £325 to cover their Covid tests ahead of their three-night trip to Iceland.
“The message is ‘PCR tests are expensive and prohibitive’,” said Nuttall.