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Brits back new travel petition to get much cheaper coronavirus-free certificates needed for holidays in Spain 

Thousands of people, including British holidaymakers, are signing an international protest petition launched in Spain to press for a cheaper way to get the new coronavirus-free travel certificate.

The Spanish Confederation of Hotels and
Tourist Accommodation agrees that all tourists should prove they are
Covid-negative before they get on their plane to Spain.

But the hoteliers say the full PCR test which
became law for entry into Spain on November 23rd is too expensive,
time-consuming and difficult to get.

It wants the Spanish government to do a u-turn
and allow tourists to take a cheaper rapid test instead., 

Hoteliers say a family of four might have to
fork out £480 for PCRs. Prices for the rapid tests are said to be around £20
each. They say this will put people off travelling and price Spain out of the
market.

“If we want tourism to once again be a
strategic sector for the Spanish economy, we have to make things easier by once
again generating employment and wealth for society,” says Jorge Marichal,
president of CEHAT.

The Spanish association has launched its
petition on change.org (http://chng.it/TTZnxyvhNh)
and wants the whole of Europe to adopt the same standard.

In just a matter of days, more than 3,000
people have signed the petition, including Brits who say the cost will put them
off travelling to Spain.

“Insisting tourists pay for PCR tests
will kill the Spanish tourist industry. It’s way too expensive,” said
Keith Clark.

“It is going to affect tourist numbers
because of prohibitive costs £120-£230 , people would choose alternative
holiday destinations,” wrote Edward Kenny.

Petition supporter Valerie Wilson added:
“We need a much quicker test to get people through the airport which will
save time and not so expensive for a lot of people as many of us are
pensioners.”

The Spanish Confederation of Hotels and
Tourist Accommodation says: “For now, PCR (RT-PCR for COVID-19) is the
only valid diagnostic test for active infection (PDIA) that includes the
aforementioned resolution. This measure has been widely criticised from
different areas of the Spanish tourism sector on the grounds that it will
generate many problems in the issuing countries, where PCR is excessively
expensive and is not even generally available to the population as a
whole.”

 “For this reason, CEHAT has sent a
letter to the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez urging him to consider
and accept as a valid detection test the rapid antigen test, which is validated
by the Spanish health authorities for the virus detection. The speed in obtaining
the results, as well as their lower cost, make these tests an adequate
instrument for the reactivation of the tourism sector.”

The call is being backed by leading tour
companies, including TUI in Spain.

“We have to be aware of these tests that
are on the market, which are increasingly more effective and less
expensive,” said Ian Livesey, head of TUI for the peninsula and the
Balearic Islands. “They are more practical and increasingly accurate. It
is very important that there is a common message from the European Union so
that each country does things as it should.”