Canary Islands added to safe list for UK and Germany

Canary Islands added to safe list for UK and Germany
Photos: AFP
Holidaymakers looking for winter sun will be allowed to visit the Canary Islands without needing to quarantine on their return after the UK and Germany lifted the archipelago from the danger list.

The news will come as a huge boost to the Canary Islands whose authorities have long been lobbying to be treated differently from mainland Spain which has the highest infection rate in Europe.

The 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases in Spain stands at 349 cases per 100,000 inhabitants while the islands have a recorded incidence rate of 82 cases per 100,000 inhabitants

The Canary Islands can now open up in time for October half term and prepare for the winter tourism season after suffering a devastating spring and summer.

Beyond having to fill in passenger locator forms and have a temperature check on arrival, visitors to the Canaries currently face no restrictions to entry.

The UK placed Spain on the quarantine list back in July after Spain saw a surge in cases which have now reached over a million since the pandemic began. The rest of Spain, including the Balearic Islands, remain subject to quarantine restrictions with travellers obliged to quarantine for 14 days on their return.

Tourism accounts for about 35 percent of the Canary's economic output and half of the annual tourism revenues come during the winter months, with tourists from Britain accounting for about a third of all visitors.

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Travel companies, which have seen demand slump due to the quarantine rules, welcomed the decision on the Canaries.

“The Canaries are a hugely important market for winter travel – representing over 50% of bookings for some tour operators – so this is very welcome news for the whole sector,” industry body Airlines UK told the BBC.

Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI, said the holiday operator had not been able to take people on a holiday to the Canaries for 89 days.

“We're therefore delighted that UK flights will now resume from Saturday 24 October. The first flights will depart to Fuerteventura and Lanzarote this weekend, with many more added in the coming days.”

Announcing the news on Thursday, Hugh Elliott, the British Ambassador in Madrid said:

“We have announced today that the Canary Islands will be added to the UK's Travel Corridors list. This means that, from 4am this Sunday, 25th October, if you are travelling back to the UK from the Canary Islands you will no longer have to self-isolate on arrival. You will still be required to show a passenger locator form on arrival, unless you fall into a small group of exemptions.

“We have also updated our travel advice for the Canary Islands, which are now exempt from the FCDO's global advisory against non-essential travel,” he explained.

“This decision follows the Joint Biosecurity Centre's latest risk assessment for the Canary Islands, which indicates that the risk to UK public health has decreased to an acceptable level. And I'd like to congratulate and to thank the island authorities for the great efforts that they have made to contain the pandemic and which have been crucial in making this decision possible.


“We know how much tourism matters to Spain and the Canary Islands, as well as to the many UK nationals who visit every year, especially during the winter months. But Coronavirus is still a significant challenge for all of us, so if you do travel, please ensure you comply with local regulations, such as social distancing and wearing masks,” he said. 

 


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