Good news for UK and Irish tourists looking to travel to sunnier climes this summer, as tourism officials for the Canary Islands have revealed that it will be open to international holiday makers from 1st July, with Ryanair and Buzz Air amongst the airlines that will be flying there.
From 1st July, tourists will be allowed into the country regardless of their nationality – doing away with the idea of ‘air bridges’ which have been proposed for travel between some countries. Instead, the islands will rely on health testing at traveler’s origins to keep its Covid-19 numbers low, rather than making distinctions between entire places of origin.
Cristina Del Río Fresen, Leader of the Global Tourism Safety Lab at the Canary Islands Ministry of Tourism, said today that they want the islands to be a “safe haven for tourists and residents” – and that while they will be bringing in a host of new safety protocols to ensure that haven, they plan on keeping them unnoticeable to holidaymakers as much as possible, to protect the relaxing holiday experience we expect from the vacation favourite.
How will airport testing work?
At the airport, those changes to protect health of visitors to the islands will include social distancing, which will be the main safety measure, and temperature checks at the airport’s arrivals and departures, with unwell passengers being isolated in separate accommodation until they are well, as well as changes to the hotel experience.
The idea is to control any possible infections at origin, by encouraging visitors to be tested 48 hours before they fly, to get a certificate of health they can then fast-track through arrivals with. This is not obligatory, but highly encouraged: if a traveller arrives without having tested already, they can be tested on arrival too – though if they are found to have a temperature and be unwell on arrival, they will be tested, and if necessary, they and their family will be isolated in a separate space until they are well.
Can you go on holiday with people from outside your household?
There’s further exciting news for travellers who want to holiday with people from outside their household. Currently in the UK, people cannot stay with anyone from outside their household. But, when The Luxe Review asked whether Canary Islands tourists would be expected to holiday only within their households, or whether they could holiday with friends, family or partners from outside their own household, a spokesperson confirmed that yes, this was absolutely possible for tourists to the Canary Islands because travellers will be tested in advance. Meaning that while people in the UK can’t visit each other at home, they could feasibly book a spectacular holiday to the Canaries together this summer.
How will hotels change?
Some hotels are looking to operate half capacity through July and August, with most expecting to be back to full capacity come October. Within hotels, the plan is for apps to replace personal contact, which paper documents eventually disappearing in place of digital versions – for example, hotels will be recommended to use digital brochures, while restaurants should replace printed menus with digital ones which can be viewed on a phone. Mandatory regulations will include more specific rules, like installing designated gel dispensers and face masks for room service staff.
Special care has also been taken to ensure buffets can safely return to hotels – with self-service spreads being replaced by buffets where guests are served by a buffet assistant with protective screens and covered, individual portions on offer, to avoid guests having to touch any shared equipment.
Are beaches and walking trails open in the Canary Islands?
Interisland boat travel has already reopened with new cleaning protocols, and on the islands’ beaches, two metre social distancing will be in place, while very small beaches will also have controlled access. Walking trails have already been reopened, too.
What are the UK travel rules on quarantine and holidays?
Despite the Canary Islands’ new regulations, it’s worth noting that the UK still has its own UK travel restrictions – in particular, a two-week quarantine period for anyone arriving in the UK will be enforced from 8 June. That includes UK nationals as well as international travellers, and will be revisited every three weeks – with the first revision due on the 28th June. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is also advising Brits against all but essential international travel.
Of course, these measures may soon change, as technology used for testing and implementing the improved safety is changing so quickly – almost as quickly, in fact, as we are to start planning our future Canary Islands travel. A safe haven sounds exactly what we need right now.