Tour operator TUI has announced this Sunday that they will be suspending all holiday packages to Spain until August 9, with the exception of those flying to the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, to which clients will once again be able to travel starting on Monday July 27. In a statement, the popular tourism company indicated that those who were travelling to mainland Spain between July 27 and August 9 will be able to cancel or modify their reservations, while those who have packages purchased for after August 10 will be informed of their situation by 31 July.
The British Government announced, without warning, on Saturday that travellers arriving in the United Kingdom from Spain will have to complete a fourteen-day quarantine due to an upturn in COVID-19 cases across the peninsula, amid criticism from various sectors affected by the lack of notice about the measure.
Despite the impact that the initiative will have on travel plans, British Airways (BA, part of the Spanish-British group IAG) and easyJet have confirmed that they will maintain their flight program for the time being. In the press note, TUI have specified that their clients who are currently within Spanish territories can “continue enjoying their holidays” and return on the flights they had reserved. The German-based multinational have said that it is still “trying to understand” why the British Government decreed a quarantine for all of Spain when there are areas, such as The Canary Islands, that are still considered very much safe. Boris Johnson’s government imposed compulsory confinement on all travelers arriving from any part of the Spanish State on Saturday evening, with the Foreign Ministry – whose position influences insurance policies – advised against travelling mainland Spain (except for essential travel) however exempted from this recommendation, the Islands.
“We know how much our customers look forward to their holiday abroad and some will be able to accommodate the new quarantine restrictions, therefore all those that wish to travel to the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands will be able to travel as planned from [July 27],” said Andrew Flintham, managing director TUI UK & Ireland.
“We will continue to work closely with the UK Government and look to understand why quarantine has been issued for a whole country, including the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands, when the travel advice isn’t aligned (only applying to mainland Spain). We believe regional travel corridors need to be considered,” added Mr Flintham. The tour operator has insisted that the British Government collaborate more closely with the sector, because “this level of uncertainty and confusion is harmful to business and disappointing for those who have longed for a deserved rest.”
British Foreign Minister, Dominic Raab, today refused to apologise for the sudden decision – announced over the weekend, when a large number of British flights depart to Spain – despite the effects on the tourism and the travel sector as well as the thousands of citizens who are now frustrated and confused over holiday plans.
In the statement TUI made clear that their clients will still have to quarantine for now, but industry insiders have suggested that this endorsement by the biggest tour operator in the world may well be a positive sign for the agreement of “Travel Corridors” between the islands and the UK.