Travel firms scramble to source pre-departure tests for holidaymakers, including families visiting Santa

Lapland COVID tests
By Linsey McNeill
Home » Travel firms scramble to source pre-departure tests for holidaymakers, including families visiting Santa

Travel firms were forced to scramble over the weekend to find pre-departure COVID tests to enable clients to return home following a sudden rule change.

From 4am on Tuesday, everyone from the age of 12 will have to provide a negative test result to enter the UK.

The change, which was only announced late on Saturday, left operators and agents with clients in remote locations – including those on Christmas Santa trips to Lapland – rushing to source COVID tests.

Hotelplan UK told Travel Gossip that it will find and fund tests for all clients already in Lapland who’d booked from its Inghams or Santa’s Lapland programmes.

It said it will also provide free tests for clients due to depart today who hadn’t had enough time to arrange a test before setting off on their trip.

In a statement it added: “We’re working with our resort teams to facilitate in resort testing for those already in Lapland and due to return to England on Tuesday 7 December or after.

“Travel agents with customers in Lapland, and customers who have booked directly with Inghams or Santa’s Lapland can remain reassured that our holidaymakers already in Lapland , will receive the in-resort support and guidance needed to continue enjoying their holiday, while we facilitate the in resort testing they may require.

“For our customers yet to depart to Lapland, to meet the new boarder entry testing requirements, we are recommending they order Remote Lateral Flow Antigen Test Kits to take with them on their holiday. More information on this can be found on our online covid hubs, here customers can find details of our partner testing packages and discounted rates.

“While we understand the latest updates have caused some apprehension, we’re pleased that our customers currently in Lapland have been able to continue to enjoy the magic of their holiday following the reassurance and support of our in-resorts teams.”

Travel Gossip understands that one Santa’s Lapland customer has tested positive for COVID and is being looked after by the operator.

Several agents have been trying to find ways to get self-testing kits out to clients in resorts where there’s a shortage of testing facilities or where tests are expensive. A few put requests on Facebook for anyone able to transport tests bought in the UK to clients on their behalf.

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