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Grant Shapps said this was because of rising infection rates on the islands.

The Canary Islands are popular with winter holidaymakers, being one of the few parts of Europe warm enough for beach holidays.

Travellers to mainland Spain already have to isolate.

Data indicates weekly cases and positive tests are increasing in the CANARY ISLANDS and so we are REMOVING them from the #TravelCorridor list to reduce the risk of importing COVID-19. From 4am Sat 12 Dec, if you arrive from these islands you WILL need to self-isolate. — Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) December 10, 2020

The restrictions will be in place from 04:00 GMT on Saturday 12 December.

Industry body Airlines UK has previously said the islands were “hugely important” for winter travel and represent “over 50% of bookings for some tour operators”.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Botswana have been added to the UK’s safe travel corridor list, meaning travellers will not need to self isolate if arriving from these places after 04:00 on Saturday.

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For UK airlines and tour operators, the winter gloom has just deepened.

The Canary Islands are a vital market for winter travel, a magnet for holidaymakers trying to escape the chill back home.

With the industry in the throes of an unprecedented crisis that trade is badly needed.

So the removal of the canaries from the list of safe travel corridors so soon before the Christmas holidays will come as a bitter blow.

Returning passengers will now have to self-isolate.

New rules that come into force next week will allow them to reduce the isolation period if they take a negative test after five days – but the test will have to be done privately, and will come at a cost.

It comes ahead of the government’s new “Test and Release” programme next week, which will allow travellers arriving into England to reduce their quarantine by more than half if they pay for a Covid test after five days.

The rules will come into force from 15 December and the tests from private firms will cost between £65 and £120.

The Canary Islands and the Maldives were added to the government’s safe travel list in October.

The reversal of this decision will come as a blow to UK travel businesses, who have pinned hope on a revival in holidays and revenue for Christmas and winter holidays to the Canaries.

A number of operators saw a large uplift in bookings to places such as Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria when the Canaries were reopened for safe travel.

Related Topics Grant Shapps Coronavirus pandemic Canary Islands Travel Tourism

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