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Hotels in Canaries braced for avalanche of cancellations from UK 

Devastated tourism leaders in the Canaries are waiting for an avalanche of cancellations from British holidaymakers after the UK government’s decision to withdraw the islands from its safe travel routes from 4am on Saturday.

“This latest announcement from the United
Kingdom will involve many cancellations because the British will not want to
quarantine when they return home,” said  Jorge Marichal, president of
the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation. “I am very
afraid that the winter season will really end up in the waste bin.”

Anyone returning from the Canaries to the UK
after 4am on Saturday will have to go into quarantine for 14 days but with
effect from December 15th, this could be reduced to five days.

Transport secretary, Grant Shapps said on his
Twitter site: “From Tuesday, Decembeer 15th, the new ‘Test to Release’
service for passengers arriving in England starts. This means that all
passengers from any location NOT in a Travel Corridor may “opt-in” to shorten
self-isolation to five days with a negative COVID-19 test result from specific
providers.”

As the Canaries are now OFF the save travel
corridor list, the five day rule should apply.

Hoteliers and tourism leaders have slammed the
decision, saying most of the new coronavirus cases are in Tenerife but the
other islands, which include Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, are paying the same
price. They feel the islands should be dealt with on an individual travel basis
instead. Although coronavirus restrictions are still in force across all of the
islands, they are most stringent on Tenerife which has been put on a night-time
curfew for the second week in a row.

Mr. Marichal, who also heads the hotel
association Ashotel in the Canaries, said the tourism sector could not hold on
any longer and called on Spain to urgently approve a package of measures to
rescue the hotel industry.

“Very few companies will be able to
recover from these continuous shocks that this health crisis is bringing,”
he said. “This roller coaster in which we have been installed for months
carries numerous losses.”

The UK’s decision is a particular blow to the
Canaries as from December 10th, the regional government said international
tourists could enter the islands on the back of a negative coronavirus rapid
test rather than the more expensive PCR required by the rest of Spain. The
Canaries won a reprieve from UK quarantine in November due to the low incidence
of coronavirus cases at the time but the rate has since escalated,
predominantly in Tenerife

Mr. Marichal said that announcement about
rapid tests had created a flurry of new reservations which might now be lost in
their droves.

“We are bleeding little by little and
without health our economy and, therefore, our society is going to suffer a lot
in the coming months,” said Mr. Marichal.

The hoteliers are calling for a wide range of
financial aid regarding taxes and wages before “tourism disappears from
the Canaries for ever.”