The chief executive of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) has said the introduction of a Covid-19 testing regime for people coming into Ireland was “expected” and although it will add to the cost of in-bound international travel it is “the lesser of two evils”.
Cork travel agent Pat Dawson made the comments following the news that all arrivals into the State - regardless of vaccination status - will need a negative Covid test result from Friday.
“It was expected. It’s the lesser of two evils because the last thing the country wants is another lockdown and for airports to be closed,” he said.
Mr Dawson encouraged people to “shop around” for antigen tests and PCR tests and suggested those travelling from Ireland for very short trips could go for their Covid tests at home before departing.
“For example people going to Premiership matches which are usually an overnight or a day trip - from that point of view they can shop at home,” he said.
Mr Dawson said that while travel agents are seeing an impact on new bookings at the moment, the announcement has not prompted people to cancel holidays that are already booked.
This was echoed by former president of the ITAA and managing director of Shandon Travel, Michael Doorley, who said that while the new rule had generated a surge in queries, he has not experienced cancellations.
Government confirmed yesterday evening that the new rules on travel would take effect from Friday.
Those who are not fully vaccinated will need to show a negative PCR test which was carried out no more than 72 hours before arriving into Ireland while those who are fully vaccinated have the option of showing a negative PCR test carried out no more than 72 hours before arriving or showing a negative antigen test carried out no more than 48 hours before arrival into the country.
Only Covid tests which have been professionally administered will be accepted.
Speaking toMr Dawson said that the Government should “step in” and regulate the cost of Covid tests.
“There’s a big variance in the cost of tests. We need the Government to control those prices," he said.
“It is causing hardship for people to travel, be it on holidays or be it on business."