Holidays: Tourism Secretary ‘desperate’ to welcome Brits to Spain
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The UK’s travel roadmap out of lockdown is set to be revealed this week, but only a handful of countries are expected to be on the “green” travel list. Holiday hotspot islands in Spain are expected to be kept off the UK’s “green” travel list, despite reporting fewer coronavirus cases than the mainland.
Spain welcomes more than 18 million British holidaymakers each year with tourism being one of its biggest sources of income.
With holidays abroad having been off the cards for more than a year, eager Britons are awaiting the news about which countries will be placed on the “green” travel list.
Countries placed on the “green” travel list mean that travellers are not subject to the 10 day self-isolation period on return.
Those returning from a country on the “green” list will have to have a negative COVID-19 test on return as well as a PCR test two days after returning.
However, it is thought that only a handful of countries will be placed on the list.
Holiday islands in Spain are set to be on the UK’s “amber” list with insiders revealing only a “tiny handful” of destinations including Gibraltar, Israel, Iceland and Malta on the “green” list.
This means that holidaymakers returning from these countries will be subject to a 10 day quarantine period at home as well as a negative test on return.
Holidaymakers will also have to have two PCR tests after return on days two and eight of the mandatory self-isolation period.
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Islands set to be on the “amber list” includes the Balearics, where the rate of coronavirus cases is less than a quarter of that in Spain, and the Canary Islands, which has vaccinated nearly a third of its adult population.
It is thought that Portugal could be the only major European holiday destination on the “green” travel list.
Iago Negueruela, the Balearic’s tourism minister, told The Telegraph: “The British Government [should] take the epidemiological situation of separate regions into account, rather than different countries.
“We have…the technology available to sequence the virus and its strains at a higher percentage than any other region [one of four factors set by the UK Government]. We have made huge efforts to contain the pandemic, and the epidemiological figures for the Islands are among the best in Europe.”
Meanwhile, Greece started a major campaign to vaccinate people living on its 85 islands by May to ensure that the country was safe for the return of holidaymakers.
Islands like Minos and Kythnos have vaccinated more than half of its adults, which is more than triple the rate on the mainland.
Rita Marques, Portugal’s tourism minister, said that the country would be open for vaccinated British tourists or those with a negative coronavirus test from mid-May.
Stavros Arnaoutakis, governor of Crete, told The Telegraph: “The region of Crete is a safe destination observing all the required protocols in order to ensure the safe accommodation of British tourists on our island. We are expecting the positive decision of the British Government.”
Countries placed on the “green” list will mean there is no mandatory self-isolation period on return, although negative tests will be required both before and after entry.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “The island’s policy was a lifesaver for the sector last summer and we don’t want or need to go backwards when we have many more tools at our disposal now, not least our world-leading vaccination programme and rapid, cheaper testing.
“The islands themselves are desperate to welcome us to their shores and as long as their Covid numbers are low and we have reliable data on variants there is no reason – other than a caution that is not warranted by the data or science – why we wouldn’t want to continue with it from May 17.”
The Government is set to reveal the travel list by the end of the week, with it reviewing the countries on the list every three weeks.
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