Spain’s Balearic and Canary islands will remain on the Government’s travel “red list” despite claims from the country’s tourism minister that quarantine was set to be lifted.
Reyes Maroto, Spain’s tourism minister, said on Spanish TV on Monday that Britain could lift its quarantine after receiving new epidemiological data that would require the UK to review its restrictions on travel to Spain. She said the islands, in particular, had a “low incidence rate' and that the UK should review its indicators.
However, the claims were shot down by Government sources who said they were wrong and that there were “no updates planned in the next couple of days.”
A source added:“There is nothing at the moment to suggest a change.”
British holidaymakers in Spain were given just five hours notice last month that those returning from the country would have to self-isolate for 14 days following a surge in cases from 125 a day after lockdown to 1,525 last Friday.
It was only last week, however, that Foreign Office travel advice banning foreign travel was extended to the Canary and Balearic Islands which have much lower coronavirus rates.
Maroto told La Sexta television: “It is a decision of the British authorities, but we have given them all the arguments so that they can trust that their tourists are safe in Spanish destinations.
“For us, the best news is to have the destination open with the United Kingdom, which is our main issuing market. We have the best protocols and are highly valued by the tourists themselves, who have transferred to their government that they feel safe in Spain.”
The quarantine decision on Spain was blamed for contributing to Hays Travel’s decision yesterday to cut up to 878 jobs out of a total workforce of 4,500 people.
The travel company said the recent decision to reintroduce restrictions for people going to Spain "triggered the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of holidays.”
Only Luxembourg has been removed from the “green list” exempting holidaymakers and travellers from UK quarantine since the decision on Spain but Belgium and Croatia are said to be on a “watch list” as the Department for Transport prepares for its next weekly review of destinations.
George Morgan-Grenville, the founder and chief executive of Red Savannah, said the reimposition of quarantine on Spain had been “catastrophic” for their bookings.
He said: ““The problem is that it is not quite as straightforward as stopping people from travelling to Spain. I think it has had a real diminishing on people’s confidence about travelling in general.”
“A lot of people are saying it’s too difficult, it's too worrying, let us just defer travel to next year, let us just wait to see things calm down.”