Canary Islands added to UK travel corridor list

Isabel Choat
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Valery Bareta/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Valery Bareta/Alamy

Last-minute holidays to the Canaries will be back on sale in time for a half-term getaway after the islands were added to the UK travel corridor list.

Holidaymakers will be able to visit any of the eight main islands in the archipelago without the need to quarantine for 14 days on their return. The move comes into effect from 4am on Sunday (25 October), the transport Grant Shapps confirmed on Twitter on Thursday.

TUI, the UK’s largest holiday company, said it will have holidays on sale to Fuerteventura and Lanzarote from Saturday (24 October), with more flights to follow.

TUI’s managing director for UK and Ireland, Andrew Flintham, described the addition of its most popular winter sun destination to the safe list as “a positive step forward”.

“We haven’t been able to take people to the Canary Islands for 89 days, when the sudden quarantine and subsequent travel advice was imposed with little notice. We’re therefore delighted that UK flights will now resume from Saturday.”

The operator will also have twice-weekly flights to St Lucia and Cuba over the winter, starting from Sunday.

Adventure company Explore Worldwide said it will now increase the number of small group trips it runs to Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife and La Gomera over the winter. Managing director John Telfer said that as well as being great news for travellers, the opening up of the islands was “a much-needed shot in the arm for all our hoteliers and guides in the Canaries”.

The Maldives, the Greek island of Mykonos and Denmark were also added to the travel corridor list which already included Greece, Gibraltar, Sweden and Germany. However, the German government has placed the whole of the UK into a high-alert category, meaning anyone arriving from the UK has to quarantine on arrival into Germany, from 11.01am on Friday; and the UK is on Denmark’s list of banned countries.

A spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents described the announcement by Shapps as “a bit of light at the end of a very dark tunnel for the travel industry”, but stressed that the pandemic had brought foreign travel to a standstill leaving companies “facing difficult decisions around jobs in the weeks ahead”.

Paul Charles of the PC Agency, who has been campaigning for affordable airport testing for months, agreed the outlook for travel over the winter is “harsh”.

“We’re looking at a cruel six months for travel anywhere. Share prices [in travel companies] have fallen; capacity has been cut by airlines; more businesses will fail and more staff will be made redundant. The short-term outlook is harsh – that’s why we need effective testing,” he said.

Airlines are currently operating at less than a third of their usual capacity. BA announced more cuts to its flights on 22 October. It will fly no more than 30% of its timetabled flights for the rest of the year, after it reported a £1.17bn loss for the period from July to September. EasyJet has said it will be flying at 25% capacity into next year, while Ryanair is down to about 40% of its usual flights until March.

Charles said he is hopeful that travel opportunities will be much better from summer 2021. “By the summer, the quarantine system will be a shadow of its former self. There will be effective testing regimes [in place] and internationally agreed standards. The whole process of going away will be easier.”

He predicts that demand will be so high it will outstrip availability. “There will be two years of demand funnelling into one and airlines won’t have enough flights. They will be running at about 60-70% capacity.”