People in England have been told to “start to think” about booking foreign holidays this summer, and this is the first time in “many months” the government are not advising against booking trips.
The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps has announced today a “framework” for overseas travel and leisure to resume.
This comes days after the government published a paper urging people “not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer.”
All travellers will be required to take a pre-departure and post arrival Covid test. Post-arrival test must be the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test which will cost £120 making travel more expensive for families.
The travel industry has hit back at this and said thhose travelling back from low risk countires will be allowed to take the much cheaper lateral flow tests, which are also far quicker to provide the test result.
Speaking to Sky News Shapps said, “I’m not telling people that they shouldn’t book summer holidays now, it’s the first time that I’ve been able to say that for many months.”
Shapps is also looking into have to “drive down the costs” of the tests for international travel.
The Transport Secretary added, “Costs are definitely a concern, it’s one of the factors this year, and we have to accept we’re still going through a global pandemic.
“And so we do have to be cautious and I’m afraid that does involve having to have some tests and the like.
“But, I am undertaking today to drive down the costs of those tests and looking at some innovative things we could do.”
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren hit out at the £120 cost for a PCR test, and said it is “a blow to all travellers” and risks “making flying only for the wealthy.”
He added, “As the rest of British society and the economy opens up, it makes no sense to treat travel, particularly to low-risk countries, differently.”
He added, “We still do not know when we can start to fly, where we can fly to and the availability and cost of testing.”