Travel

On The Beach restarts holidays – with free Covid tests on Greece and Spain breaks


TRAVEL giant On The Beach is promising FREE Covid tests for Brits booking 2021 holidays to Greece, Spain and Cyprus.

The online agent – the UK’s third biggest travel company – stopped selling peak summer holidays in May due to uncertainty around the traffic light system.

On The Beach are selling holidays again - and are throwing in free Covid tests too

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On The Beach are selling holidays again – and are throwing in free Covid tests tooCredit: Alamy

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But it is back with a bang from today – and offering travellers in England and Scotland taking a 2021 trip to Spain, Greece and Cyprus, as well as the Spanish and Greek islands, free Covid tests if they book before the end of September.

The freebie will cost the company more than £1million and will include both antigen and PCR tests from testing provider Collinson.

But in a bid to restore consumer confidence in holidays, the travel giant will order tests for customers automatically when they book and deliver them a minimum of 48 hours before departure, with one antigen test to be taken on holiday before returning to the UK and a PCR test to be taken on or before Day 2 back home.

Here are some of the deals you can take advantage of, which start from £185 for a week abroad, which include the free Covid tests:

  • FUERTEVENTURA: Seven nights self-catering at the 4* Pierre et Vacances Village Club Origo Mare including flights from Manchester on November 7 – from £250pp
  • RHODES: Seven nights’ B&B at the 4* Dionysos Hotel in Ixia including flights from Stansted on October 1 – from £185pp
  • MAJORCA: Seven nights’ all-inclusive at the 4* Blue Sea Club Marthas in Cala D’Or including flights from Newcastle on September 26 – from £339pp

Research found a third of people said the cost of PCR tests was one of the main reasons why they had not booked a holiday in 2021. A quarter of those who said they were not planning a holiday said free Covid-19 tests would make them more likely to book.

The company faced criticism in 2020 as millions of holidays were cancelled due to the pandemic and their relaunch comes with a New Normal Booking Pledge that aims to address customer concerns about how Covid could hit their holiday.

Their New Normal Booking Pledge promises a full cash refund if a holiday is cancelled due to Covid or there are changes to regulations for the destination.

There is also free cancellation costs should someone travelling get Covid or be forced to isolate before travelling and no amendment fees if the destination is affected by Covid restrictions.

Simon Cooper, CEO of On the Beach, said, “We are thrilled to launch this industry-leading offer for our customers and remove the financial burden of PCR testing for holidaymakers.

“Having carefully monitored the ongoing travel updates, the data at home and in our key destinations, and the sentiment among our customers, we feel that the time is now right to welcome them back to the beach.

“We’re encouraged by the easing of travel restrictions for the fully vaccinated and the rollout of vaccination programmes in the UK and in our most popular destinations. This has also settled the traffic light system in recent weeks.

“And, whilst demand has a way to go to get back to pre-pandemic levels, we are seeing green shoots and a growing appetite amongst consumers to make up for missed summer getaways.

“The financial and administrative implications of PCR testing are still a barrier for many to booking a holiday abroad, and we are therefore delighted to provide free Covid-19 tests to our customers booking in September for holidays this year.”

Seven night holidays are on offer for as little as £185 each

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Seven night holidays are on offer for as little as £185 eachCredit: Alamy
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