Pricey Covid testing is no shot in the arm for tourism industry
Uniformity of testing costs and availability is urgently needed to keep the more than R130-trillion industry afloat
Joey Levy, an American luxury travel adviser, was helping clients plan a long-awaited honeymoon. They wanted to go to Zambia, Zimbabwe and SA on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see wild animals and Victoria Falls, staying at some of the region’s best lodges.
For that, they were prepared to pay five figures. But then PCR testing costs got in the way. Each country required a negative result 72 hours before entry and the remote lodge they’d chosen in Zimbabwe said the only way they could arrange for one was to fly in a doctor —for $6,000 (about R88,000).
“I could have chartered a flight for the doctor and it would have been cheaper,” said Levy, who ultimately rearranged the itinerary to avoid the exorbitant fee. ..