Published on Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Spanish islands establish travel corridors: what this means for UK tourists

The Balearic and Canary Islands are to establish air corridors with European countries with free Covid testing for travellers returning home.

Under new rules set out by Spain's central government, the Balearic and Canary Islands will allow travellers to enter without being tested on arrival, provided their arrival country has fewer than 50 Covid cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the previous 14 days.

Arrivals from countries with 50 Covid cases or more will need to show a negative test certificate obtained no more than 48 hours before the flight.

The new rules will mean all holidaymakers leaving the Spanish islands will also have to take a test 48 hours prior to the return flight. The test will be carried out in approved centres. If the test is positive, travellers will not be allowed to fly and will have to quarantine in the destination with costs and accommodation covered by the islands.

In a move to 'allow us to recover mobility and reactivate the flow of tourists, Spain's Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto said he hoped the new rules on the islands would be extended to other popular tourism destinations within Spain's mainland.

What this means for travel from the UK

Latest figures show the UK currently has 253 cases per 100,000, meaning holidaymakers would have to pay for private tests, which cost from around £130 per person and can be as much as £175.

The NHS is warning people not to apply for free tests in order to go on holiday to ensure there is no shortage of free tests for those who are displaying symptoms.

Some people have reported difficulty finding private tests with a 72-hour turnaround, let alone 48 hours, so it seems likely given the cost and the hassle, that this will create another barrier to visiting the Spanish islands.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office currently advises UK travellers against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks in the country. The country currently has 308 cases per 100,000, making it one of the worst-affected destinations in Europe.

By Louise Longman, Contributing Editor (UK)

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