Airport testing at Heathrow this month – hotels have their say

Hotels across the UK and overseas have reacted to the government’s suggestion of trialling airport testing at Heathrow this month.

With a coronavirus testing facility on stand-by, Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said that talks with Downing Street had been “progressive” and testing could be operational within a couple of weeks. One test would be performed on arrival (billed at £150) with another five or seven days later.

The industry welcomes the news with socially distant open arms. Remarks like “step forward”, “postive” and “about time” make up the majority of comments from CEOs, managers and directors of both large and independent hotel groups, who argue that quarantine measures have been devastating for businesses and holidaymakers at home and abroad.

“Testing is the lifeline that the hotel industry needs to get back on its feet,” managing director of Red Carnation Hotels, Jonathan Raggett, said. “It gives global travellers the confidence to travel again, while simultaneously removing the need for economically damaging, long quarantine periods.”

Alan Ball, area director of sales and marketing at JOALI in the Maldives, echoes this as an “intelligent next step”. He also argues that the current 14-day self-isolation is both inefficient and destructive to the wider economy, while general manager at Huvafen Fushi, Noel Cameron, says that taking a proactive approach to reduce quarantining sends out a positive message.

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