International travel: FREE Covid tests for September bookings announced

Travel: Simon Calder discusses taking PCR tests

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Travel Covid regulations may come and go, but one thing that has stayed constant has been mandatory testing. Britons heading overseas all have to be tested, with the cost of PCR widely decried.

To make holidays easier, and cheaper, for Britons, one company has launched a free tests campaign.

Travel company On the Beach will offer free Covid tests for all bookings made in September, for holidays to Spain, Cyprus and Greece this year.

The free tests available are both antigen and PCR, making this an attractive offer for holidaying Britons who may be worried about the prohibitive cost of testing.

Simon Cooper, chief executive of On the Beach, said: “We are thrilled to launch this industry-leading offer for our customers and remove the financial burden of PCR testing for holidaymakers as they get to grips with the new normal of holidaying.

READ MORE: Simon Calder issues travel warning for those returning to UK with kids

“Having carefully monitored the ongoing travel updates, the data at home and in our key destinations, and the sentiment among our customers, we feel that the time is now right to welcome them back to the beach.”

On the Beach had decided to stop selling holidays back in May and sat out the summer season.

But the travel company is coming back to the market with a splash and is hoping the new free test offer will help it regain its position as a leading holiday retailer.

The tests will be ordered automatically for Britons who book a holiday to Greece, Cyprus or Spain this month, for travel this year.

Tests will be delivered at least 48 hours before travel, with the antigen test to be taken while overseas and the PCR test on day two after holidaymakers’ return to the UK.

The Government-approved test provider Collinson will deliver the tests.

On the Beach’s research found that one of Britons’ main reasons for not travelling was the price of Covid testing.

The company hopes the new offer will make holidaymakers more likely to book a holiday this year.

On the Beach is not the only travel company to have taken steps to help Britons with their Covid testing costs.

Tui has launched an offer that sees their customers paying as little as £20 for testing kits.

Free and reduced price Covid tests are available for customers in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with Wales still requiring NHS tests.

PCR testing advancements were also being made at airports, with Heathrow announcing it was setting up a new facility that will process PCR tests in three hours.

Collinson Group was in the mix again, partnering with biotech company Randox to set up the new facility.

Dr Simon Worrell, global medical director for Collinson, said: “No longer do travellers need to take a PCR test three days before travel, and so risk contracting the virus in the interim.”

The technology will also be introduced near Gatwick in the near future.


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