The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has urged that the government should cover the expense of “very expensive” and pointless PCR tests for persons who have been fully vaccinated.

The organisation claims that the tests are discouraging Britons from travelling.

Sajid Javid, the UK health secretary, recommended that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigate ‘excessive’ pricing and ‘exploitative practices’ several PCR Covid test companies over the weekend.

This comes after numerous reports of travellers paying drastically varying amounts for PCR testing performed by different providers.

PCR tests are currently available at a wide range of prices, with the average costing roughly £75. Some companies, however, charge up to £400 for express PCR test results in 90 minutes. This puts UK PCR testing among the most expensive in Europe, thanks in part to a 20% VAT surcharge.

Now, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global private tourism sector, thinks it’s past time for the government to pay for people’s PCR testing in full if they’ve been fully vaccinated.

This would alleviate the enormous financial burden that is currently reducing travel demand and basically preventing the revival of international travel.

The government uses genomic sequencing data from PCR testing to quickly detect variants of concern, understand transmission, and reduce the spread of disease, but WTTC questions why consumers should have to pay for this.

“For many people –especially families and small businesses on a budget – the crippling added cost of the unnecessary PCR tests makes the difference between being able to travel or not,” Virginia Messina, WTTC acting chief executive, said.

“It’s clear that many British adults simply can’t afford to travel overseas at all if they have to pay the excessive cost of PCR tests.

“More affordable antigen tests, with PCR tests for those who do test positive, will help keep travellers safe and make taking a trip overseas within the budget of most people.

Virginia Messina continued: “But if the government wants extra information for genomic sequencing – they should pay for it. If they don’t pay, then consumers will vote with their feet and avoid international travel altogether, further damaging the already struggling UK tourism sector.

“At the very least, we support the investigation by the CMA to look into the excessive pricing of PCR tests which is deterring the revival of international travel.”

– India’s new age travel digital media


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