Travelers flying into St. Vincent And The Grenadines will soon have to pay between US $20-40 for a COVID-19 test, regardless if one is administered or not.
In a radio interview, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said that travelers will soon be required to pay a fee for on-site COVID testing, even if they are able to get a COVID negative result before departing for the island. Golsalves said the fee will be added to the cost of the ticket, and was done so mainly for logistics reasons.
“I ask you the question. Tell me which way you can pay it? If I wait here for you to pay it, to set up a system to collect the $20 from you when you arrive, it’s going to prolong the clearing time and make life more difficult for you.
“So we have no option but to put it on the ticket. So whether you pay for it up there already by taking one, or down here you will still — most people wouldn’t worry about the US$20 because they would want to move fairly speedily.
“Because when you do it, you test, you will have your certificate that you did your test. I am giving you a lot of details so that I don’t want to hear persons say they didn’t know.”
The decision to collect these fees has already been passed on to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Passengers with CARICOM passports will be required to pay US $20 while non-CARICOM passport holders will pay US $40.
The good news is that outbound travelers will benefit from a $20 reduction on departure taxes, which means that CARICOM passport holders are basically ‘unaffected’ as the $20 portion of the departure tax is now being used to COVID-19 testing while everyone else has to pay just $20.
COVID-19 test kits are not cheap to come by, and every country’s situation is different, financially speaking. Being tourist-dependent, it may not be in the best interest for St. Vincent to charge a fee for testing, but at the same time, I view the expense as a small price to pay to vacation in an island that is has no active COVID-19 cases. It’s also a nice gesture that departure taxes were also reduced to somewhat offset the cost to the passenger.
[Featured Photo: ernie114/Pixabay]