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Canary Islands ready to DEFY Spanish government and accept British tourists with negative rapid tests rather than full PCRs 

The Canary Islands are may defy the Spanish government and accept international tourists, including the main British market, WITHOUT full coronavirus tests.

Tourism and business leaders say it is “ridiculous” and a “killer” for the holiday trade that Spain is insisting on full PCR negative tests which cost up to three times more than rapid antigen tests.Hoteliers have joined in the campaign, saying the Canary Islands will lose all its winter trade unless the Spanish government does a rapid -turn and approves rapid tests rather than full PCRs in the next few days.

If not, the Canary government says it is prepared to go it alone and seek the legal measures to ditch the full PCR requirement in favour of antigens in a direct show of defiance.At this time of the year, Brits flock to the likes of Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria because of the winter sun and the islands are currently the only place where UK holidaymakers can go in Spain without going into quarantine on their return. Brits are currently awaiting news from the UK government about whether they can restart international travel following today’s lifting of the lockdown and whether quarantine generally is going to be relaxed.

The Canary government says it is “working round the clock” to find a solution to the deadlock but officials can’t understand why Spain is insisting on full PCRs rather than rapid tests like the rest of Europe.Canary president, Ángel Víctor Torres says they will “bite the bullet” and introduce their own regional rule unless an agreement is reached with Madrid.Spain’s Minister of Tourism, Reyes Maroto indicated on Monday that they would be sticking to their guns and continue to require full PCR tests before holidaymakers head for Spain and not accept antigen testing.The hotel association for the main Canary islands, Ashotel had slammed the Spanish government as “shameful” for not accepting the cheaper rapid tests and claims Reyes Maroto “doesn’t seem to be interested in reactivating tourism.

“It’s a joke to all travellers and to the Canary Islands, which demands the admission of these rapid antigen tests in view of the imminent reactivation of holiday trips from the main issuing countries,” said a spokesman.Any tourist heading for Spain has to take a full PCR test within 72 hours of departure which must prove negative. This includes the Canaries which has the extra rule of requiring holidaymakers to show a negative antigen test at their hotel or apartment reception before being allowed access.Rapid tests can cost as little as £10 but full PCRs in private clinics can be up to £100. Families of four are therefore facing an extra cost of around £400 for their Spanish holiday.