The Tenerife tourist board has confirmed that there will be no ban on international travellers, despite reports to the contrary this morning.
“International travellers can arrive to Tenerife as long they’re tested before arrival with PCR,” a spokesperson told Telegraph Travel.
Tour operator Jet2 also confirmed that no travel ban will be introduced: “We can assure customers that we have received confirmation from the Canaries Government that this is not the case,” said a spokesperson. “Holidaymakers can still travel to Tenerife.”
Last week, Tenerife’s seven-day case rate rose to 96.1 per 100,000 people – the highest in the Canary Islands, which has a collective average of 52.2 per 100,000 people. This led to the archipelago’s removal from the UK’s Travel Corridor list last Thursday, meaning that Britons must self-isolate for 10 days on their return to the UK.
Scroll down for updates on this – and other breaking travel stories.
Tier 3 rules will apply to 4.26 million more Britons from Saturday
Here’s an overview of the situation:
‘Why I’m putting my money on Oman for this week’s obscure travel corridor’
Given the recent additions (often obscure places and/or places with closed borders), one could be forgiven for thinking there is neither rhyme nor reason to the Government’s travel corridor list, writes Oliver Smith.
But there is, according to the Government, method to its madness. Taking into account the factors specified the decision makers, members of the Telegraph Travel team have started a travel corridor sweepstake.
Here’s why, based on this reasoning, Oliver believes Oman could be handed a travel corridor today.
Tier 3: Matt Hancock quizzed on ‘lives and livelihoods’
Karl Turner, Labour MP for Hull East, notes that Christmas is the busiest time of year for hospitality businesses.
He says that some businesses will lose a quarter of their profits, and asks what the Health Secretary will do to “protect lives and livelihoods”.
Matt Hancock says he “feels gratitude to everyone in Hull” to get case rates down, but adds “we’re not quite there yet.”
“We are putting the support in that comes with being part of Tier 3, we’ve put record sums in to support hospitality. But I appreciate this is tough, especially in the run-up to Christmas. I can commit to keep working with the honourable gentleman to do everything we can to get the hospitality open again.”
Tourism to and from Tenerife can continue ‘in the same manner’
The island’s tourism board has further clarified the situation for holidaymakers travelling to the Canary Island.
A spokesperson said:
Tourist movement to and from the island of Tenerife continues to function in exactly the same manner it has been until now as the tourists have advantage of the exceptions listed among the current regulations in force, with relation to the right of admission in tourist accommodation establishments.
A negative Covid-19 test must be presented upon arrival.
The current restrictions for excursions on the island are:
Tour guide activity
Activities in “stable coexistence” groups (groups of people who interact regularly) of 4 people, up to a maximum of 20 people.
Active tourism activities:
Up to a maximum of 20 people in groups (group of people who interact with each other regularly) of 4 people in each group. Social distancing must be maintained between the four person groups.
Breaking: England’s Tier system updates
Matt Hancock confirms that Tier 3 measures will be applied from midnight on Saturday to the following areas:
Bedfordshire; Buckinghamshire; Berkshire; Peterborough; Hertfordshire; Surrey – except for Waverley; Hastings and Rother; Portsmouth; Gosport; and Havant.
He also said that for the vast majority of Tier 3 areas, there will be no change. However, he confirmed that Bristol and North Somerset will move down to Tier 2 on Saturday.
Herefordshire will also move out of Tier 2 into Tier 1, in light of its case rate of 45 per 100,000.
Can you travel between tiers at Christmas?
Festive celebrations can go ahead, albeit in a reduced form, over the five days of the Christmas relaxation period. The four UK nations have agreed that up to three households can meet in a private setting between December 23 and December 27 (and between December 22-28 in Northern Ireland).
But there are other restrictions in place – not to mention the ever-more complicated tier rules. How can you reach your destination? Where can you stay overnight with your ‘Christmas bubble’? And are you allowed to go overseas?
Cruise giant considering ban on unvaccinated passengers
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, one of the world’s largest cruise lines, is considering whether to make vaccination against Covid-19 a requirement for boarding.
Frank Del Rio, chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said: “It will certainly be a requirement for the crew. But it’s too early to tell whether we have the legal standing to mandate that you take a vaccine to come onboard – lawyers are looking at it as we speak.
“But there is talk beginning to emerge from different corners of the travel industry, the airlines as well, of requiring some kind of immunity passport demonstrating that you’ve had the virus or been vaccinated, so that you are good to go.”
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which counts Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises and the eponymous line among its brands, is second only to Carnival in terms of passengers numbers. It recently announced that it is extending its suspension of sailing through February 2021.
WTTC: Test to Release scheme is ‘hindering rather than helping’ travel
The World Travel and Tourism Council has slammed the Test to Release scheme, saying that it “hindering rather than helping” confidence in the travel industry.
The scheme, which launched on Tuesday, allows travellers to cut their post-travel quarantine from ten days to as little as five – if they take a test on the fifth day of self-isolation. However, the launch was immediately overshadowed by problems, with testing providers unable to keep up with ‘overwhelming’ demand.
Gloria Guevara, President and Chief Executive of the WTTC, said:
Protecting public health is paramount and, while WTTC welcomed the test to release scheme, it has created confusion and appears to be hindering rather than helping travellers.
Holidaymakers must have easy access to the list of private testing firms and be certain that they will actually get their results in time.
Travellers need clear and concise information so they fully understand the process they need to follow in order to take themselves out of quarantine.
Tests need to be quick, affordable and accessible, and should also be available through the NHS, not just through expensive third-party suppliers.
Testing travellers is the solution to restarting international travel while avoiding exporting the virus. It ensures only infected people are isolated and will enable mobility in a responsible way.
Travel corridors: Update expected at 5pm
It’s Thursday, which means that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will update the UK’s travel corridor list this afternoon. The announcement usually happens at 5pm.
We will bring you any updates as soon as they are confirmed.
Which areas could get a lower lockdown Tier before Christmas?
The number of people in the strictest tier of coronavirus restrictions looks set to grow when the Government reviews England’s measures today.
Great swathes of southern England in areas such as East Sussex and Surrey are on course to enter Tier 3 on Saturday, with limited loosening on restrictions in the North.
Ministers met on Dec 16 to review England’s tier system and decide whether any parts of the country will face tighter or looser restrictions in the run up to Christmas.
Read our full analysis and predictions here.
Jet2: Tenerife ‘remains open’, says tour operator
There is confusion whether Tenerife’s borders will, in fact, be closed from tomorrow. A spokesperson from Jet2 tells Telegraph Travel:
We are aware of news reports regarding Tenerife closing its borders to holidaymakers. We can assure customers that we have received confirmation from the Canaries Government that this is not the case.
Holidaymakers can still travel to Tenerife to enjoy Christmas and their well-deserved holidays in the sunshine.
Given this welcome update from the Canaries Government, alongside the current FCDO travel advice, we are operating our flights and holidays programmes to Tenerife as normal.
We are still awaiting official clarification on this story.
Visit Cornwall boss: ‘Growing stress, anxiety and friction’ in travel industry
Malcolm Bell, head of Visit Cornwall, has spoken of the “stress and confusion” created by the Government’s unclear guidance over festive travel.
“It is not clear what is the law and what is just guidance, and there are big rows going on over that,” Bell told the BBC.
Travel to the Tier 1 area is currently ‘advised against’, but not illegal – though some hotels are choosing to turn holidaymakers away.
“We are having more cancellations, but also more confusion. It is very difficult for businesses to stay on top of it, and do their part by contacting people coming from different areas.
“There is growing stress, anxiety and friction between customers and businesses who are having to make very difficult phone calls.”
TUI: ‘Working through’ what Tenerife closure means for travellers
TUIwill contact customers whose travel plans may be affected by the Tenerife border closure, a spokesperson told Telegraph Travel this morning. They said:
We’re aware of the news reports regarding the recent announcement that Tenerife will close its borders from Friday 18th December.
We are currently working through what this means for our holiday programme and will update customers as soon as we have more information.
Beyond Brexit: How travel will be different after December 31
Currently, under the transition arrangements, British travellers are exempt from Covid-19 restrictions which ban non-essential visits to the EU from most countries in the world. But this exemption will automatically cease from January 1 – so that, theoretically, all current travel corridors from the UK to Europe, Madeira and the Canary Islands would be closed.
It might be months before the infection rate falls sufficiently for normal arrangements to resume.
This would almost certainly put paid to the ski season in the Alps – Switzerland might be the only feasible destination to visit – and jeopardise Easter holidays in the Med.
Ben Ross, our Deputy Head of Travel, has the details:
Travel insurers failing to cover 2021 holidays against threat of Covid
The rollout of a working Covid-19 vaccine has sparked hopes that holidays abroad will be able to resume in 2021, but travellers could soon find themselves out of pocket thanks to a lack of comprehensive travel cover.
Insurers are refusing to protect customers against changes in travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), or from lockdowns in other countries – according to research by Which?, obtained from analysis of 73 companies.
This means those forced to abandon holiday plans due to renewed travel restrictions – enforced either by the UK or foreign governments – will likely be unable to recuperate their travel and accommodation fees.
The consumer group also found that levels of cover afforded by travel insurance policies have declined since March 2020, with many firms now offering inferior products in comparison to a year ago.
Home Secretary suggests people should not cross tiers this Christmas
Priti Patel has insisted that the Government is allowing people to decide how to spend their Christmas, but urged citizens not to travel between tiers.
“I think the British public are smart enough to make judgement,” she told Radio 4’s Today programme. “They don’t want to put themselves at risk, they don’t want to put their loved ones at risk… the British public have followed rules, they have followed guidance… they are wearing masks, they are doing things very differently. That is not going to change because it is Christmas.”
She also suggested people would not travel from a lower tier into a higher tier, saying: “I would urge people to change their plans. I won’t be seeing my parents, they live in a different part of the country, I won’t be travelling to see them.
“I want to protect them. I don’t want to be spreading the virus. I would take that responsibility. Why would you travel from a low tier to a higher tier?”
Sydney, Bangkok and Seychelles removed from British Airways schedule
British Airways has revised its summer 2021 schedules, with the removal of Sydney, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Kuala Lumpur, Abu Dhabi and Seychelles from long-haul routes.
A BA spokesperson told us this morning:
We are sorry that, like other airlines, due to the current Coronavirus pandemic and global travel restrictions we are operating a reduced and dynamic schedule.
We will be in touch with any customers whose flights are affected and advise customers to check
ba.com for the latest flight information.
It’s a “sign of the times” says Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency:
A quick recap of Wednesday’s headlines:
- Supreme Court rules Heathrow Airport third runway can go ahead
- Australia expects international travel to resume on an “industrial scale” in second half of 2021
- Ski resorts reopen in Sweden and Norway – just in time for Christmas
- ‘Travel corridor’ trial launches between Atlanta and Amsterdam
- Scottish airports risk being ‘left behind’ without testing scheme
- 109 countries on the quarantine list have lower Covid rates than the UK
Now, on with today’s travel news.