Holidaymakers are to be offered Covid tests for a fraction of standard prices from Tui
The UK’s largest holiday company said it will offer tests for as little as £20 to “make travel a possibility” this summer.
The cheapest package will consist of a lateral flow test and PCR test - a requirement for travellers returning to or visiting England from destinations on the government’s “green list”.
Those who pay £50 for a package will receive an additional PCR test, which is needed for people coming from a country on the amber list.
PCR tests usually cost £120 each, although other travel companies are selling them for £60.
Tui said it is “subsidising the cost of testing to help customers travel again this summer”.
There have been fears that testing requirements would make summer holidays too expensive for many people, by adding hundreds of pounds to the overall cost of a trip.
Travel lists to be published on Friday
The green, amber and red lists, based on an assessment of coronavirus risks, are expected to be published by the Department for Transport on Friday.
International leisure travel is expected to be permitted to resume for people in England from 17 May.
No dates have been set by the UK’s devolved administrations.
Tui has partnered with Norwich-based testing firm Chronomics to offer the packages.
Andrew Flintham, Tui’s managing director for the UK and Ireland, 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.
“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.”
‘Great news - but for Tui customers’
Rory Boland, editor of magazine Which? Travel, said: “Tui launching an affordable testing package for holidays to green list countries is great news – but only for Tui customers.
“Other larger holiday companies that can afford to subsidise test costs may follow suit, but medium and small travel firms may struggle to compete, and holidaymakers could face reduced choice as a result.
“People should not have to shop around for mandatory tests if they want to travel, or have their hand forced as to who they book with based on limited provision of cheap tests.
“The Government must work to reduce the cost of testing across the board, rather than have consumers rely on a system that is currently fragmented and flawed.”