The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has urged governments around the world to work together to pursue a reciprocal test on departure regime to end "crippling" quarantines and revive travel.
While welcoming the UK government’s new "test and release" scheme, which will allow travellers returning to England from a non-travel corridor destination to exit quarantine after five days subject to a negative Covid test, the council said the system was still not optimal for all travellers.
Acknowledging likely testing costs of £65pp to £120pp, the WTTC said this would be prohibitive, particularly for business travel.
"To significantly aid the travel and tourism sector, which has been battered by widespread and uncoordinated travel restrictions, quarantines need to be reduced even further or completely replaced with a comprehensive and internationally recognised test upon departure," said the WTTC.
The council also warned that testing on departure would be the only blanket way to get all travellers moving again until wide vaccine availability.
It said it acknowledged and supported any "viable alternatives" to quarantine, such as the oneworld alliance’s free pre-flight Covid tests on select US-UK services.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and chief executive, said: "Cutting the hugely disruptive 14-day quarantine to just five days with a test, albeit a rather expensive one, will be welcomed throughout the travel and tourism sector as real progress.
"However, while it may provide the shot in the arm needed to bring about the return of some international leisure travel, it is simply not enough to bring back the economically boosting business travel.
"A single internationally recognised cost-effective test for all departing air passengers should be used to remove crippling quarantines and begin the gradual process to revive international travel, save the sector and bring back millions of jobs around the globe."