The ITT has called on the outbound travel sector to pool its collective buying power to drive down the "excessively high cost" of private Covid testing to a maximum of £50 per PCR test.
In an open letter to the industry, the ITT said the UK government had "failed" consumers with its list of approved test providers, claiming many do not take into consideration the price, convenience or reliability of the tests consumers require to travel or exit quarantine.
"The UK outbound travel industry needs to take the lead and create a recommended supplier list we all jointly promote," said the ITT letter, signed by chair Steven Freudmann and the ITT board.
Numerous travel leaders have criticised the cost of Covid testing in the UK, with easyJet chief Johan Lundgren warning £100+ PCR tests would price families out of the summer leisure travel market.
Prices have fallen in recent months, but the cheapest tests are still only available through select partnerships and still range from £20 to upwards of £100 per test, depending various factors.
This is despite repeated promises by prime minister Boris Johnson and transport secretary Grant Shapps to drive down the cost of testing, potentially through scrapping VAT on testing.
Research by Abta and the Airport Operators Association, in April, found the cost of PCR testing for international travel in the UK was double that in other European countries.
The ITT is recommending the industry draw up a shortlist of suppliers via an independent panel to encourage directional selling and create competition between testing providers.
It suggests this panel meets monthly to update the shortlist, and ensure testing suppliers are being identified independently of individual company’s commercial terms.
To deliver on price, the ITT wants PCR test prices capped at a maximum of £50, while to deliver on convenience, it is urging the industry to prioritise working with suppliers that are able to offer testing locally, or reliable home testing options.
Finally, the institute said the industry should measure reliability by publicly available review data and confidential sharing of complaints within the industry.
All members of the scheme would promote the shortlist via their respective websites, and through pre-departure email communications.
Currently, those seeking to travel for leisure are likely to have to take at least three tests as part of their journey, one before departing the UK, one before their return to the UK, and one on the second day of their return – if returning from a green list destination.
Travellers returning from amber and red list destinations must take an additional test on day eight of their return, adding to the cost.