The British Government on Tuesday let it be known they are removing the Canary Islands from their list of destinations to which they advise against non-essential travel, due to the low incidence of the coronavirus.
An update to the travel restrictions for Spain, that appear on the British Government’s main website, said “The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic Islands but excluding the Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”
Similarly, the Brits have removed Portugal (excluding the Azores) and several Greek islands from their risk list, when travellers are expected to be allowed to holiday again on May 17, using their new “traffic light” system, to classify countries in red, amber or green according to their infection levels and other indicators.
Though the official final list is not being announced until later this week, it seems clear from various sources that The Canary Islands may well be the very first Spanish destination to be cleared for low risk travel and holidays.
Questions still remain, however, as the Spanish Government did announce last week that are inclined to keep all “third country” nationals out until the end of June, a statement which was published in the Spanish BOE Official State Gazette caused consternation among many who had been hoping for a get away to the canary islands, where numbers have been incrementally improving as infection rates have fallen, with no island now above Alert Level 2 (Amber).
That all said, the national State of Emergency in Spain, which gave the central government sweeping powers in the face of the pandemic, is due to end on May 9. We can fully expect for regional governments, such as that of The Canary Islands, to use their own regional legislation to allow for “safe travel corridors” with countries like the UK, which has traditionally represented at least 1/3 of all tourism to these islands, mostly in the summer time.
Senior UK government sources have said today that the number of destinations to which Brits will be able to travel quarantine-free, from 17 May, could be in single figures – despite pressure from Conservative MPs for the UK to greenlight travel to the whole of Europe as vaccine rates improve. One source also warned that a significant number of countries on the initial green list are unlikely to be major holiday destinations. If that is the case then we could be looking at a sudden influx of sun hungry brits in the coming weeks.
One Whitehall source surmised that changes could well come quite quickly over the summer, as the list of green countries is reviewed every three weeks. “It will be a cautious approach, but then things could start to change quickly,” the source said.
All in all we won’t know for sure until the official announcements are made at the end of this week and early next week