Travel

Spain allows Brit holidaymakers to return TOMORROW without proof of negative Covid test – but Germany bans tourists


SPAIN is allowing Brit holidaymakers to return tomorrow without proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test – but Germany is still banning tourists from entering.

The Madrid government confirmed it would follow Italy and Greece and allow British tourists in, despite the countries still being on the UK’s amber travel list.

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Tourists on the beach in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria today

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Tourists on the beach in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria todayCredit: Alamy
Tourists in Gran Canaria today

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Tourists in Gran Canaria todayCredit: Alamy
Passengers departing at Heathrow Airport

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Passengers departing at Heathrow AirportCredit: Rex
Tourists on the beach in Gran Canaria today. Spain will allow British travellers to enter the country from midnight

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Tourists on the beach in Gran Canaria today. Spain will allow British travellers to enter the country from midnightCredit: Alamy

Spain published its decision in an official state bulletin.

Well-placed Spanish Ministry of Tourism sources confirmed British tourists would be let into the country without having to show a negative coronavirus test or proof they have been vaccinated.

Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez also announced that UK holidaymakers would be allowed to enter the country from Monday, May 24.

He said in English at Friday’s international trade fair Fitur: “I am pleased to inform you that the ministerial order will be officially published exempting citizens from the UK and other ‘safe’ countries like New Zealand, South Korea and China from temporary restrictions on non-essential trips to Spain.

“I can therefore announce that from next Monday, May 24 we will be delighted to welcome all UK tourists.

“They are welcome to enter our country without restrictions and without health requirements.”

However, Germany has banned Brits from entering the country from midnight over Covid variant fears.

From midnight tonight, people travelling to Germany from Great Britain and Northern Ireland may only enter the country if they are a German citizen or resident.

Spouses and children under 18 of a German citizen or resident can also enter, as long as the household are travelling together.

HOLIDAY WARNING

Number 10 has warned people against making plans for a holiday to Spain.

Boris Johnson’s spokesman said: “Our advice hasn’t changed in regards to amber list countries.

“We have been clear that people shouldn’t be travelling to amber list countries for the purposes of holidays.”

Despite official warnings, thousands of Brits are expected to fly next week to Spain, traditionally the UK’s favourite foreign holiday destination.

Portugal is currently the only major tourist destination on Britain’s green list, which means holidaymakers do not need to isolate on their return.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has hinted it could be expanded amid pressure for France, Spain, Italy and Greece to be added. 

Spain was left off the green list – meaning travellers must isolate at home for ten days back in the UK – and won’t be added until June at the earliest.

However, Spain’s Tourism Minister Maria Reyes Maroto said she was confident Britain’s favourite foreign holiday destination would get “green light” status soon.

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There’s been a mixed reaction on social media, with some praising the Spanish leader for reopening the borders to locked-down Brits.

But in the UK, one man fumed on Facebook: “Too late. I already wasted a ticket on a flight I wasn’t allowed to board last week.

“I am not heading to Spain anytime soon – good luck with that.”

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Another Brit posted: “Queues, muzzles, testing on return, quarantine! No thanks. Not sure how the travel industry will survive.”

And one man said on Facebook that it was “irrelevant” what Spain had announced as “it’s an amber country” for those in the UK.

It was hailed as “great news” by Antonio Mayor, president of the Benidorm, Costa Blanca and Valencia Region Hotel Association Hosbec.

He added: “Everything that means opening borders and trying to normalise mobility is good news.

“We are delighted with the announcement. The important thing now is that the UK puts us on green light status.

“We expect many British tourists will now come to Spain – but green light status would encourage even more.”

Reyes Maroto, from Alicante, said Spain had been “exercising a very active role within the European Union and campaigning for the updating of the restrictions on non-essential trips from outside the EU.

“As you know the British traffic light system is going to be updated regularly to take account of each country’s epidemiological situation.

“Taking into account the advance of the vaccination programme which is happening according to plan and the accumulated incidence of coronavirus is going down, we are confident Spain will soon enter the green list.

“We are convinced British tourists will be able to holiday in our country this summer if that is their wish.”

The Spanish Interior Ministry confirmed the move to put the UK on Spain’s non-EU exemption list, which also applies to Japan.

It said: “At present the European Union is debating a modification of the recommendation on a temporary restriction of non-essential journeys from outside the EU.

“It’s foreseeable that Japan and the UK will be included in the list of country exempted.

“Several EU states have already put those two countries in that privileged position.

“In light of all this, and after consulting with other government departments which are affected, [an] order is modified to include Japan and the UK on the exempted list.

“The modification will take effect from midnight on May 24.”

Bittersweet news

By Lisa Minot, Travel Editor

SPAIN’S decision to welcome Brits from Monday with no restrictions is great news for those sun-seekers.

But it is bittersweet as the Government insists that travel to the country — currently on the amber list — should not be for leisure.

Brits face paying for three tests to get back home and quarantining for ten days.

Until the country moves to the green list, travel there will be costly and a hassle.

Grant Shapps said he's pushing for more destinations to be added

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Grant Shapps said he’s pushing for more destinations to be addedCredit: PA
Brits are already enjoying hols in Portugal after it made the quarantine-free list

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Brits are already enjoying hols in Portugal after it made the quarantine-free listCredit: AFP
Playa Levante, in Benidorm, Spain

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Playa Levante, in Benidorm, SpainCredit: Getty

Spain’s Secretary of Sate for Tourism, Fernando Valdes, told Spanish press: “What has been decided is that British tourists can enter Spain.

“But while we are still on the UK’s amber traffic light list they will have to self-isolate on their return.”

Efforts continue to convince the UK government to give holidaymakers the green light to vacation in Spain’s regions – rather than consider the country at a national level when it comes to restrictions.

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Tourist bosses in Spain want the UK to recognise the low coronavirus rates in areas like the Balearic Islands and Valencian Autonomous Community.

Valdes added: “We are working on this list being compiled by regions.
“But it’s not a EU problem, it’s a UK problem because it should have the capacity to territorialize the world and not just Spain.

“We hope a re-evaluation of some regions take place soon. Spain, along with Portugal, is the holiday region that’s in the best epidemiological situation.

“There are competitors that have higher coronavirus rates and that gives us an obvious competitive advantage. We are confident Spain will be on the green light list in June.

“But even Spain being on the amber list is not going to stop British people visiting our country.”

Sunbathers in designated roped-off areas enjoy a day out in Benidorm

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Sunbathers in designated roped-off areas enjoy a day out in BenidormCredit: AFP
Brits are keen to return to Spain for their hols

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Brits are keen to return to Spain for their holsCredit: Alamy

Benidorm mayor Toni Perez hailed Spain’s announcement as “good news and we regard it as very positive.

“It’s something we’ve been clamouring for in Benidorm given the epidemiological evolution of our coronavirus data, which together with the vaccine situation made this modification inevitable.

“Now we need the British government to give the green light to safe air corridors with areas like the Valencian Autonomous Community which has a very low rate of coronavirus.

“That’s especially the case with Benidorm, so that as a safe destination we have the UK’s green light and can offer happiness and security to those who choose us for their holidays.”

Francesc Colomer, regional tourism minister for the Valencian Community which includes the provinces of Castellon, Valencia and Alicante and covers the Costa Blanca, added: “This news is a step forward and very positive.

“We are advancing in terms of overcoming this pandemic and see this as validation of the improvement of the health situation.

“Tourism is a space without borders. We have to continue advancing in terms of obtaining the UK’s green traffic light status and we hope the UK will interpret this news positively.”

An initial list has been published by the UK - but it will be tweaked

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An initial list has been published by the UK – but it will be tweakedCredit: Alamy

Boris Johnson wants to add “as many countries as possible” to the travel green list this summer, a top minister declared.

Justice secretary Robert Buckland said the Government wants to make it as easy as possible for Brits to jet off for a break in the sun.

“We’ll continue where we see the evidence to add countries or indeed sometimes to take them off if we see the evidence going the other way.”

His remarks raise the prospect of more countries being added to the green list within weeks, with the next review due on June 7.

And even more destinations are also expected to be approved in a wider review of how the traffic light travel system is working on June 28.

Yesterday the transport secretary Grant Shapps said he was pushing for more holiday hotspots to be opened up as soon as possible.

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He wants extra destinations to be made quarantine-free as their vaccination rates catch up with the UK.

There are calls for many favourite European haunts including Spain, France, and Italy to be opened up soon.

On May 19, the Sun Online reported that Brits faced postponing their trips abroad for another summer due to the uncertainty around travelling abroad.

The foreign travel ban was lifted on Monday, May 17, which allowed holidays to go ahead for the first time this year.

However, MPs have now said holidays abroad can only go ahead to green-list destinations, of which there are only 12 – four of which are letting Brits in.

The list of amber countries includes most of Europe, including holiday hotspots Spain, Greece, France and Italy.

Earlier this week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that people should only travel to amber countries if “absolutely necessary”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “It is not somewhere you should be going on holiday, let me be very clear about that.”

Education Minister Gillian Keegan echoed both Mr Johnson’s and Mr Hancock’s warning, telling Times Radio: “Amber list countries are there for a reason – they are there so that you can travel for business, you can travel for particular situations such as funerals or if there are some specific care issues in your family.”

More countries should soon be added to the green list

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More countries should soon be added to the green listCredit: Alamy
Spain, Italy, and France could be among the next to open up

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Spain, Italy, and France could be among the next to open upCredit: Alamy
Robert Buckland said the Government wants to add more countries to the green list

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Robert Buckland said the Government wants to add more countries to the green listCredit: AFP

The majority of Brits have been heading to Portugal as one of the few restriction-free holiday destinations.

Yet travel companies are already fearing that Brits may postpone their holidays for the second time this summer due to uncertainty.

Fuming – and bewildered – Brits have slammed the confusing rules.

One person wrote on Twitter: “Don’t want people to travel to Amber List countries? Put them on the f***ing Red List then. Jesus, it’s not hard.”

Another person agreed: “If you can’t travel to a country on the Amber list then don’t have an Amber list – just have red and green and be clear about the messaging!”

One person said that they couldn’t get a £1,700 refund on their holiday to Santorini, and would also need to fork out for extra Covid tests.

Someone else wrote: “Well waste of time with foreign holiday government advice don’t use Amber list countries try telling the f***ing travel agents.”

One woman explained: “I think part of the problem here is that airlines are flying to amber list countries so if you choose not to go, you lose your money.”

Which countries are on the green list?

Countries which made it onto the UK’s green list have a low rate of Covid infections and a steady number of vaccinations being distributed.

  • Portugal
  • Israel
  • Singapore
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Brunei
  • Iceland
  • Gibraltar
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • St Helena, Tristan de Cunha, Ascension Island

Countries who made it onto the green list have a low rate of infections and a steady number of vaccinations being distributed.

Holidaymakers can now jet off to those 12 nations without the worry of quarantine restrictions, as foreign holidays have now restarted.

However, travel requires a pre-flight Covid test as well as a PCR test on day two of returning to the UK.

Amber countries require a mandatory 10-day quarantine at home as well as a Covid test on day two and eight.

Red countries will have to isolate for 10-days at a quarantine hotel, costing £1,750 per person.

Holiday chaos as Matt Hancock urges Brits to stay away from ‘amber list’ Spain, Greece & Italy





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