On Wednesday evening, the Government issued a new warning to travellers returning to the UK from Spain. Citing concerns over Covid variants, as well as mounting cases across the country, travellers have been urged to take a PCR test rather than an antigen or lateral flow for their pre-departure test.
However, the cost of this could have a devastating financial impact on holidaymakers.
According to Avi Lasarow, EMEA CEO of Project Screen by Prenetics who are on the Government’s list of approved test providers, a family of four could be forced to pay an additional £332 on tests.
Overall, this would see them paying as much as £1,328 for tests alone if they followed the Government advice to take PCR tests only.
While fully vaccinated Britons are able to sidestep quarantine and take only a day two test upon arrival, non-vaccinated travellers do not have this option.
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“That’s an overnight increase of 33 percent overnight and means Britons already in Spain on holiday will have to pay an extra £332 before they fly back.”
The warning comes as experts are calling for PCR tests to be made more affordable by the Government.
Following the latest traffic light review, which saw Spain hold its position on the amber list despite concerns over the prevalence of coronavirus, loveholidays CEO called for the Competition and Markets Authority to step in.
Donat Rétif said: “It’s great to see more stability for holidaymakers in the latest travel review, but the absence of action on sky-high testing costs remains a concern.
“It’s time for the Competition and Markets Authority to take urgent action to drive these costs down.”
One way this could be done, according to Prenetics’ Mr Lasarow, is by omitting VAT on Covid tests.
According to survey findings by the firm, this could encourage a further 6.8 million more Britons to jet off abroad.
“If VAT was removed from PCR tests, a family of four could save £166,” he explained.
“Removing VAT from Holiday COVID tests would bring down the average PCR test from £83 to £69.”
It comes as the firm launched a parliamentary petition to have industry-wide VAT axed from PCR tests for travel in a bid to further boost the industry.
“We promise if the Government axes VAT on holiday COVID tests, we will pass on every single penny saved to the public. And we challenge everyone in the testing industry to do the same.”
The latest warning for Spain, from the Department of Transport, states:
“Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country.”