The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) have called for the development and implementation of routine COVID-19 testing for passengers boarding flights out of the country, as an alternative to quarantine measures upon arrival at their destination. The Association believe that this will help to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus and work towards re-establishing global air connectivity after a difficult six months for the travel industry.
The ITAA believe that as well as reopening borders within the EU, this form of testing will help to rebuild consumer confidence in travel. The Association support COVID-19 testing before departure, as this will ensure a “clean” environment throughout the travel process. The ITAA believe testing on arrival has a negative impact on passenger confidence, as a positive test result will mean that the passenger will have to go into quarantine when they reach their destination.
While this type of COVID-19 testing is unlikely to become a permanent fixture in the air travel experience, the ITAA believe that it is a necessary measure to re-establish air travel. COVID-19 testing has progressed rapidly since March; the ITAA believe that the use of quick, accurate, easy to use and affordable testing measures could be an interim solution and have a positive effect on air travel in the coming weeks and months.
ITAA CEO Pat Dawson stated, “First and foremost, the safety and comfort of our customers is paramount to all ITAA member travel agents. We expect that there would be certain challenges involved in integrating these kinds of tests into the travel process; however we believe that this method is worth implementing in order to restore consumer confidence in international travel. It is essential that a global standard is developed and maintained for these tests so that all relevant parties can adhere to testing protocols.”
He continued, “The current travel restrictions provide no relief to either inbound or outbound travel, which will have a knock on effect on the Irish travel industry well into the future. We believe that with the introduction of these testing measures, we will be able to restore a level of consumer confidence and begin to rebuild our industry. Irish people love to travel; as soon as it is declared safe to travel again we believe that consumer confidence will be restored. Until that happens, we must look into alternative measures to ensure that passengers have a safe and comfortable journey.”