Kuoni will launch new Covid test holiday packages “before the end of the week”, UK boss Derek Jones has confirmed.
Speaking as part of a panel in the latest TTG Debate, held in the wake of the government’s publication of its traffic light destinations on Friday, Jones said he believed PCR tests still remained one of the biggest challenges facing the industry and said he was concerned the infrastructure would not be able to cope if a major destination was placed on the “green” list.
“The challenge is about the PCR tests. I cant help but think the reason the government wants PCR tests is so they can generate data on variants of concern [to measure] how effective the vaccinations is,” Jones said.
“If this is the case, the government should be paying for PCR tests because the more data they have got the more they will have the confidence to know if the vaccine is working against variants of concern. It doesn’t make sense to say on the one hand we need to understand the data and then do everything they can to stop the data from being generated by putting lots of barriers in front of people that are travelling.”
Jones admitted Kuoni’s customers were more concerned about arranging the tests in time for their holiday departure rather than their cost, especially for destinations demanding tests be carried out 72 hours beforehand.
Asked by TTG if Kuoni would follow Tui’s lead in creating Covid test packages He agreed, adding: “We’ll have it done by the end of the week. Tui have set that in motion [for the industry] – in order to be able to compete with those sort of levels you’ve got to do a deal with the supplier.
“But my concern is about the infrastructure around PCR tests,” Jones warned. “If a major destination opens up in July or August, or a number of them do, and we start to talk about millions of customers travelling, then I genuinely don’t believe the PCR structure will be robust enough to deal with the time frames the government is demanding. It just can’t happen.”