From Saturday, the popular British holiday destination of the Canary Islands will be removed from the British travel corridor. This means that those who come back from holidays on the islands must self-isolate upon return for a period of 14 days. Here’s more information on why this has happened, and what this means for travelers.
The Canary Islands
The southernmost autonomous community of Spain, the Canary Islands are an archipelago that lies 100km to the west of Morocco. Comprised of several popular islands such as Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, they are known for their year-round warm climate, volcanic sand beaches and affordable hotel options.
The islands welcome in excess of 15 million tourists per year, with 14 million of those coming from abroad, and tourism is a huge industry for those on the island. In 2019, some 2.25 million British tourists visited Tenerife – the largest and most populous of the Canary Islands – which means that this latest restriction is sure to have a substantial impact on the island, as many Brits may be put off traveling by the thought of having to self-isolate upon arriving home. It’s also clear that the decision will have substantial repercussions in the UK as well; the islands are a popular winter destination for Brits, and account for more than 50% of bookings for some tour operators.
Why Have They Been Removed From The Travel Corridor?
The decision to remove the Canary Islands from the UK travel corridor is due to the current situation of Covid-19 on the islands. The latest figures from Tenerife show that they have reported the high figures of 96.1 cases per 100,000, whilst the rest of the islands are below all 50 cases per 100,000.
However, the decision to remove the islands from the travel corridor has caused controversy. Whilst the figures for Tenerife are high, the rest of the islands have much lower rates of infection. This has led to some in the tourism industry questioning the decision to group all of the islands together rather than taking a regions approach and removing only Tenerife from the travel corridor. Such an approach was recently taken by the British government for Greece, where some islands were on the travel corridor whilst others were removed.
The Travel Corridor
England currently has a travel corridor with 78 different countries and territories. This means that those to and from these places back to England will not need to self-isolate upon return. Yesterday, on December 10th, two more countries were added to the travel corridor – Botswana and Saudi Arabia. For a full list of countries, territories and regions that make up the travel corridor, please click here.
What Does This Mean For Travelers?
The decision to remove the Canary Islands from the travel corridor means that tourism between the two countries in the future is bound to decline, as many will not want to self-isolate upon return.
It could also have a profound impact on travel in the future, as many tour companies and industries on the islands are dependent on this season’s travel and may find themselves entering hardships that they can’t recover from.
However, there might be changes on the horizon should the Covid-19 situation on the islands improve over the next few weeks, and if the UK continues to roll out its vaccination program.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories