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Canaries left devastated at UK’s green list veto 

Tourism leaders in the Canaries say it is a devastating blow that the islands, which include the British favourites of Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, have been left of the UK’s green travel list.

And they have made an urgent appeal to everyone in the archipelago, where Brits are the number one market, to take “individual responsibility” against coronavirus after describing the UK government’s decision as “an important stain on our good image as a safe destination.”

Regional councillor for tourism, Yaiza Castilla says she fears other countries might follow the example of Britain ” if we do not control the pandemic, compared to other markets.” “It is very frustrating that after all the effort made by the sector and the workers for more than a year, the behaviour of some makes us unable to reactivate the economy and compromise the economic and social recovery of the archipelago,”  she said.

However, she voiced confidence that the Canary Islands are being treated as a separate entity from mainland Spain which means it could get the go-ahead for British tourism earlier.

There has been concern in the Canaries, particularly in Tenerife, that the coronavirus figures are not going down as quickly as health chiefs would like, with the under-45s being singled out for outbreaks.But in an interview with Spanish newspaper, Diario de Avisos, Yaiza Castilla said she was confident the data could be improved; “We have done it on other occasions and I sincerely believe that we can do it this time as well.”

The United Kingdom is the main source market for tourists arriving in the Canary Islands, with almost 5 million in 2019, which represents a third of the number of tourists who visited the Canary Islands that year.However, the pandemic and travel restrictions have placed the United Kingdom at the tail end of issuing markets to the Canary Islands. From the opening of borders in July of last year to April 2021 (latest data available from Frontur), the contribution of the British issuing market has been 14%, due to the successive changes in the health classification of the United Kingdom, Spain and the islands. So far in 2021, the share of British people in the Canary Islands has been 1.7%.”

They have practically disappeared from our beaches and there is not enough volume of tourists from other markets to replace them in the short term,” said the tourism minister.Tenerife has just raised its coronavirus alert to level 3, a decision which hoteliers say is punishing their sector whilst failing to address the real source of the problems such as illegal raves, crowds and hotspots of contagion.President of the hotel association, Ashotel, Jorge Marichal said: “A very controlled sector is being criminalised; hotels and restaurants have invested in these months in adapting their businesses to comply with health and safety measures so that now we are paying for those who do not comply.”And he added: “If the infections in Tenerife remain the same, we will not only slow down the poor tourist season scheduled for this summer on the island, but we will have a negative influence on the rest of the islands.”