Holidaymakers offered cut-price £20 Covid tests

·3-min read
spain-beach.jpg
spain-beach.jpg

Britain's biggest tour operator has slashed the prices of PCR tests for holidaymakers to £20 – less than half the cost of the cheapest to date.

TUI is to offer travellers who book holidays in "green list" destinations a £20 deal for two tests – one a lateral flow to be used pre-departure back to the UK and one the gold standard PCR test for use on or before day two of their arrival back in Britain.

It is also offering holidaymakers travelling to "amber list" destinations a £50 package for one pre-departure lateral flow test and two inbound PCR tests for day two and day eight of their 10-day home quarantine.

The offer, in partnership with government-authorised provider Chronomics, comes as ministers are set to announce on Friday the lists of "green" and "amber" countries that Britons will be able to visit from May 17 after the foreign travel ban is lifted.

Government sources have indicated that only a "tiny handful" of countries will be on the quarantine-free "green list" with Malta, Gibraltar, Israel, Iceland and possibly Portugal widely touted as candidates.

Most of the popular European destinations including Spain, France, Italy and Greece are expected to be on the "amber list", which requires travellers to quarantine for 10 days on their return and take two PCR tests during that time.

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, has been pushing for companies to bring down the costs of tests, which have previously averaged more than £100 in the UK, and in some cases soared to up to £300.

Many test providers have since cut costs to around £60, with the cheapest previously being just under £45 – and Mr Shapps is shortly expected to unveil an updated government website making it easier for travellers to find the cheapest authorised test deals.

Andrew Flintham, the managing director of TUI, said: "We have always believed that cost-effective testing solutions, as well as maximum flexibility, will make travel a possibility this summer and beyond.

"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."

TUI customers will be able to order tests on a newly-created Chronomics and TUI booking hub an hour after booking their holiday and will input their booking reference, departure date and country of travel to enter the site.

The new booking hub will go live on Monday May 10.

It is offering four packages:

  • Green at £20 per person containing one pre-departure lateral flow test and one inbound PCR test for day two.

  • Green+ at £60 per person containing one outbound PCR test with courier costs seven days a week included, one pre-departure lateral flow test and one inbound PCR test for day two.

  • Amber at £50 per person containing one pre-departure lateral flow test and two inbound PCR tests for day two and day eight.

  • Amber+ at £90 per person containing one outbound PCR test with courier costs seven days a week included, one pre-departure lateral flow test and two inbound PCR tests for day two two and day eight.

Pre-departure lateral flow tests will include test verification and certification to fly back to the UK.

As well as the inbound testing packages required by UK regulations, customers will also be able to select kits that include an additional outbound PCR test should that be a requirement of the destination they are travelling to.

TUI is also including free Covid-19 cover protection for all package holiday customers travelling from May 17 to August 31 and allowing free amends up to 14 days before departure.

Mr Flintham added: "The four new exclusive testing packages have been developed with our customers in mind; they’re offered at greatly reduced prices, include certification to travel and will be a simple process from start to finish.

"Also, should testing requirements change between purchase and travel, for example if an amber package is purchased and the destination moves onto the 'green list', we'll simply refund the difference."