A Green light for Gran Canaria is expected this summer after the British Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said that the travel traffic light system the UK Government will launch from May 17, to classify countries based on their current Covid and vaccination indices, will take into account the data on the islands separately from the nation of which they are part. He said he trusts that the high vaccination figures, and overall low numbers of infections, for those islands preferred by the British, such as the Canary Islands, will very likely mean they are to be classed as low risk, and so marked green, regardless of the situation on the mainland.


For the latest Canary Islands data on Covid-19, updated daily, check our Canary Islands dashboard

The British Government hopes that by middle of May, some 30 countries can be green listed, facilitating international travel, meaning that British people who choose to holiday there will not have to comply with quarantine rules, on their return.

According to Grant Shapps, the traffic light system, announced on April 9, has been specifically designed to separate data coming from the islands, which are a preferred summer destinations for the British.

This paves the way for the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Azores, Madeira and Malta to all be on the list of destinations classified as green, even though Spain and Portugal, for example, may be marked amber or red at the same time.

Shapps says that because these islands have a low prevalence of Covid19 and high percentages of vaccinated population, they will very likely be on the green list.

The news comes as a welcome ray of hope for Gran Canaria tourism businesses who have suffered a 95% drop in arrivals throughout the pandemic with many businesses struggling just to hang on for news of what we can expect to see this summer.  While it is still expected to take a couple of years to return to pre 2020 numbers, there is a lot of positivity and hope that we can start to rebuild Gran Canaria tourism from the middle of May, with some commentators predicting between 20% and 50% of the pre-pandemic numbers Gran Canaria has been traditionally used to.  If that is correct then the island could be looking forward to a summer surge of more than half a million tourists this summer season.  With hopes for a bumper Winter season to follow.

Safe air corridors
Fernando Valdés, Secretary of State for Tourism in Spain, confirmed that the opening of safe air corridors between the two countries is on the negotiations table between Spain and the United Kingdom. These corridors would make it possible to avoid quarantines, but only if the use of vaccination passports, that facilitate the return from safe trips, becomes widespread.

The United Kingdom will not announce which countries are on the green list until the beginning of May, along with information about when they expect the lifting of the current total non-essential travel ban that is in force throughout the UK until at least May 17

The British Government have suggested that the list of countries classed as green for travel may be longer than expected in principle, since vaccination programs are accelerating in practically all Mediterranean countries and all the main destinations for British tourism.

As well as the green light for Gran Canaria other destinations also expected to be on the UK Travel Green List, include Israel, Barbados, Morocco, Maldives, Seychelles, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Antigua and the British territories of Bermuda, Turks & Caicos, the Falkland Islands, in addition to the islands of Malta, Madeira, The Azores, the Balearic Islands, and all of the Canary Islands (Tenerife, La Gomera, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, La Graciosa, La Palma and El Hierro).

British traffic light system

The UK Government have said that they are looking at proposals to reduce the price of testing by making them VAT free and announced the restrictions that will be applied to each destination according to their risk rating:

  • Low Risk Green areas: When returning to the UK, tourists will only have to undergo a PCR within two days of arrival.

  • Medium Risk Amber areas: Travellers will have to keep to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel or in their own home. They will have to undergo a PCR test before returning to the United Kingdom, another on the second day of the quarantine and, finally, they will have the possibility of getting rid of the quarantine early if they are negative on a test carried out on the fifth day after they return.

  • High Risk Red areas: Travellers will need to undergo a PCR test before their return to the UK, another on the second day and another on the eighth. They must also keep to a 10-day quarantine in an approved hotel.