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UK Advises Against Non-Essential Travel To Lanzarote

Wednesday July 29, 2020

UK Advises Against Non-Essential Travel To Lanzarote

The UK Government has advised against all non-essential travel to Lanzarote, as well as the whole of the rest of Spain.

The UK Government has advised British tourists against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Canary Islands and the Balearics. 

The shock decision came after a confusing few days of conflicting advice from the FCO, who were previously suggesting that British tourists were still free to fly into the Canaries or the Balearics but would have to quarantine for 14 days on their return, in line with guidelines for the rest of Spain.  This caveat was rescinded on Monday.

As a result of the decision Jet2 have suspended all flights and holiday packages into the Canaries until August 10th, whilst TUI has also followed suit cancelling all flights and holidays until August 4th.  Ryanair and easyJet however continue to operate flight services into Spain but have cancelled all holiday packages until further notice.

The British Government’s decision has baffled many observers and travel industry figures as both the Canaries and Balearics have much lower Covid-19 infection rates than the UK. 

UK policy makers expressed concern that the Spanish islands represented an infection risk due to high incidences of traffic between the mainland and the archipelagos.  Ignoring the fact that it would be far simpler for anyone from infected regions such as Catalonia to simply cross into France, where no such restrictions currently apply, for forward travel to the UK. 

The decision is so baffling that ex-Tory politician Michael Portillo has suggested that the decision is in fact politically motivated and is designed to further erode Spain and the EU’s economy whilst creating a bargaining chip in upcoming Brexit negotiations, where Gibraltar has been touted as a potential sticking point.

Other observers have suggested that the UK Government has made the move to try to stimulate the struggling British economy over the coming months by encouraging staycations and domestic spending.

In contrast, the German Government has taken a far more nuanced approach to the surge of infections in Catalonia and Aragon by simply advising against travel to those regions.  Leaving German tourists free to dominate the sunbeds in the Canaries and Balearics left empty by the absence of British holidaymakers.

British tourists are of course still able to follow the lead of the British PM’s own father, Stanley Johnson who completely flouted FCO advice to visit Greece last month in order to “Covid-proof” his holiday home there. 

So far, only one UK citizen has been convicted of breaking the 14-day quarantine rules on their return to the UK, which suggests that monitoring is minimal.

However, anyone travelling to Spain currently does so at their own risk as the latest FCO guidelines invalidate all insurance policies.

One chink of light in an otherwise gloomy outlook for Lanzarote’s tourist sector came from Charlotte Veer, a UK Transport minister who stated yesterday, “The U.K. is also considering regional rules to replace whole-country restrictions, such as the one imposed on Spain. We could put them in place for regions in the future – we’re not there yet, but we are looking at it because it’s an appropriate consideration.”

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