IATA calls on governments to ensure PCR testing to be carried out in a timely, efficient, widespread and affordable way so as not to restrain people from traveling.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has gathered information on the cost of PCR testing for Covid-19 that 16 countries are currently running and found that 15 out of 16 countries are currently left to individuals to pay for themselves with an average range of 90 USD to 208 USD. The only country to comply with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation is France as its government accepts to bear the cost of testing for travelers.
As a result, if the travelers have to pay for the test themselves, they need to pay an average minimum of 380 USD, including two PCR tests (one at the departure and one at the arrival) plus the air ticket (cost about 200 USD including taxes and charges) for a one-way outbound trip. In the case that the return trip also requires another two PCR tests, the total cost for an individual return trip will be up to 760 USD.
For family travelers, the minimum fee to be paid by a nuclear family is up to 3,040 USD, of which up to 1,440 USD is spent solely for the Covid-19 test. According to Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, short-haul trips (up to 1,100 km) will be the most impacted as the tests will cost more than the flight with average fares of 105 USD.
“As travel restrictions are lifted in domestic markets, we are seeing strong demand. The same can be expected in international markets. But that could be perilously compromised by testing costs—particularly PCR testing. Raising the cost of any product will significantly stifle demand.”
IATA, therefore, urged governments to take measures to ensure that the cost of the COVID-19 PCR test does not put out the travel of individuals and families. IATA believes that in order to facilitate an effective international tourism restart, the testings must be affordable as well as timely, widely available with high effectiveness.
“Testing costs must be better managed. That’s critical if governments want to save tourism and transport jobs; avoid limiting travel freedoms to the wealthy,” added Willie Walsh.