Pre-departure Covid-19 tests will no longer be required to enter England, announced yesterday Boris Johnson, UK’s prime minister.
As of 4:00 am on January 7, fully vaccinated arrivals, along with those under 18, will no longer need to take a pre-departure test two days before travelling to England.
As of 4:00 pm on January 9 travelers will only have to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test. This test must be bought from a private test provider – free NHS tests are not allowed.
“The industry will be very pleased to see the removal of onerous pre-departure testing, and the replacement of the day 2 PCR test with a lateral flow test, ” said Joss Croft, CEO UKinbound. “However, this is not job done. January to March is a key booking period for inbound travel and if we are to ensure the successful revival of the UK’s valuable inbound tourism industry, our 5th largest export sector, worth £28 billion to the UK economy in 2019, then the government needs to provide a clear roadmap for the removal of all travel restrictions and to signal that the UK will be fully open for business,” Croft concluded.
Julia Simpson, President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) welcomed the Johnson’s decision: “The removal of pre-departure tests and replacing Day 2 PCRs with more affordable antigen testing will significantly boost the UK Travel & Tourism sector and help both it and the whole UK economy recover much faster than expected.The testing measures being removed never actually stopped infections coming in and were a blunt policy which only damaged the travel and tourism sector.”