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Holiday Company TUI Offering Knockdown PCR Tests for Just £20 to Win Over Customers

Holiday Company TUI Offering Knockdown PCR Tests for Just £20 to Win Over Customers

Britain’s largest holiday tour operator TUI has launched a heavily discounted COVID-19 testing package to lure holidaymakers who might be put off booking a much-needed holiday this year because of the high cost of mandatory testing.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the £20 knockdown testing package offered by TUI and government authorised laboratory Chronomics is around 86 per cent cheaper than the maximum average for a single Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

Photo Credit: TUI UK

The UK is expected to release a highly anticipated list of ‘Green’ countries within days where Brits can go on holiday from May 17 without needing to quarantine after returning home. But even these destinations will require travellers to take at least two COVID-19 tests – including a pricey PCR test.

The £20 test package covers the cost of a return pre-departure test lateral flow test (sometimes known as a Rapid Antigen or RAT test), as well as the more accurate PCR test which is required on day two after arrival.

Some destinations also require a pre-departure test before leaving the UK and TUI is offering this in a bundle of three tests for £60 which includes a test certificate and 7-day per week courier costs.

Two other packages are available for travellers returning from the so-called ‘Amber List’ countries where two PCR tests are needed on Day 2 and Day 8 after arrival.

“Our research has shown that customers are looking forward to their much-needed holiday overseas, but affordable and easy testing solutions was imperative to make this a reality,” explained Andrew Flintham, TUI managing director for the UK and Ireland.

Although the cost of COVID-19 testing has fallen dramatically in recent months, industry analysts believe TUI is offering the test packages as a loss leader in a bid to attract new bookings.

Recent analysis by IATA found that the average cost of PCR testing for travel ranged from £65 to £149 for a single test. The lobby group claims that COVID-19 testing can nflate the average total airfare cost by between 45 and 90 per cent.

IATA has called on governments to urgently review the cost of testing for travel or even cover the costs completely and make testing free for travellers – at the moment, only France bears the cost of testing for travellers. The World Health Organization (WHO) supports free testing – even for travel.

“It’s a government responsibility to ensure that testing is accessible to all,” commented IATA’s new director general Willie Walsh.

“If governments are not going to make testing free, at least they must ensure that there is no profiteering by testing companies at the expense of people who just want to get back to some form of normality in their life and travel habits,” the ex-British Airways chief executive said.

Grant Shapps, Britain’s minister of transport recently told parliament that he was “very anxious” to get the cost of travel testing down but rejected calls to mandate prices or to subsidise the prices paid by consumers.

View Comment (1)
  • Took a trip recently to an international location that has a 24/7 everywhere mask mandate.
    It was pretty warm and therefore no fun having a mask on continually except between sips and bites.
    Not willing to go anywhere like that again – where masks are mandatory even when walking in a park.
    Used to like walking about new cities and historical centers – won’t do it if I have to wear a mask as I’ll constantly find myself wishing I could be back in my hotel room so that I can take the damned thing off. Curtailing some leisure travel until masks aren’t a thing anymore.

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