Travel: Simon Calder discusses taking PCR tests
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Every British holidaymaker has to take a pre-departure test before returning home to the UK from a destination on the Government’s amber list. Double-vaccinated tourists must then take a PCR test on or before day two after arrival in the UK.
The eye watering price of Covid tests to British tourists has been exposed by new research from leading travel company, The PC Agency.
Compulsory Covid tests have cost holidaymakers at least £1.1billion this summer as international travel started to pick up.
The average cost of a Government approved PCR test is £93, adding a huge bill to every tourist’s holiday.
Since the traffic light system was introduced in May and the start of September, at least five million people over the age of 12 flew into the UK.
On average, each tourist is estimated to have taken 2.3 PCR tests on or after arrival to the UK.
That means at least 11.5 million tests have been taken by passengers arriving or returning to the UK from Europe.
Countries on the Government’s amber list include popular summer holiday destinations such as Greece, Portugal, Spain and France.
Some testing companies have taken advantage of the tough travel restrictions to force tourists to pay huge sums to reenter the UK.
The research does not include people who arrived from outside Europe or those who arrived by other methods of travel, such as the Eurostar or ferries.
This means the cost of Covid tests to the British public is likely to be far higher than the £1.1billion recorded.
Paul Charles, chief executive of the PC Agency, said: “This £1billion industry has grown quickly, with no clear oversight or regulation.
“A whole summer has gone by with consumers being ripped off with tests they don’t need at sky-high prices.”
Many European countries have regulated the price of PCR tests to stop the public being overcharged by greedy companies.
However, the UK Government is yet to provide regulations outside of tests offered by the NHS.
Since travel testing procedures were introduced, many companies have started selling the tests, often at extremely high prices.
Ripped off British tourists have felt the burn as they have had to add hundreds of pounds in testing fees to the price of a family holiday.
The Government’s traffic light testing system is due to be reviewed on October 1 and many travel experts have been calling for change.
Rob Burgess, editor of frequent flyer website, headforpoints.com told Express.co.uk: “ If there is no loosening of restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers, the sheer number of tests required for a simple day trip to Europe to visit a client, or a short weekend break for leisure, will stop people travelling.
“How are we meant to do a ‘fit to fly’ Covid test during a day trip?
“With many European countries now having higher vaccination rates than the UK, we need to form a ‘common market’ for internal EU travel with no testing or paperwork.”
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