HOLIDAYMAKERS have been left stressed as tougher Covid restrictions are introduced for jet setters in light of the new Omicron variant.

From 4am on Tuesday, fully vaccinated people entering the UK will be required to self-isolate until they receive a negative result from a PCR test.

However, the tests are costly and must be bought from the private sector, typically priced at £55.

Previously, fully vaccinated travellers were only required to take a cheaper lateral flow test and did not need to self-isolate unless they received a positive result.

David Gambier, managing director of Witney based Great Experience Travel Group, explained that although he has not had to rearrange many holidays, a lot of customers who are currently abroad are concerned.

He said: “We had lots of people ringing up on our out of office lines, who were in Spain or Jamaica, asking how to get PCR tests and how it is all going to work."

When the announcement was first made Mr Gambier found that travel companies, flight companies and testing companies did not know all the information of the changes.

He added: “One of the things I have criticised the Government for is making announcements without providing all of the information at once."

He explained that the testing regimes all have an effect on his business as it adds a level of complication for travellers.

Skiing holidays have been put on hold for most of the pandemic which Mr Gambier says is a "huge issue". He highlighted that Switzerland has announced that British travellers arriving in the country have to self-isolate for 10 days, which he says makes it an "unviable" destination for holidaymakers.

Read also: Omicron variant: where have cases been found?

Mr Gambier said: “We have to make sure our clients are advised as best they can be. Those people who are determined to get away because they haven’t had a holiday for 18 months have generally accepted that it is the cost of getting away. However, those people who are thinking it is all too much of a hassle are giving it a miss until the middle of next year.”

Trailfinders, which has a shop in Oxford, said it has not yet been affected by the new rules.

A spokesperson said: "We are in touch with any clients which are affected, and we got in touch with them immediately to let them know the requirements. People who were travelling to South Africa have had their trips rearranged or have been offered a full refund.

"Many of our clients are desperate to go away so are happy to do the PCR tests. Hopefully it is just a storm in a teacup, but we will just have to wait and see."


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