Spain a ghost town as half-term Britons boycott country over damaging travel rules

Brits consider flexibility and travel more important than high salary

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Currently, children over 12 wanting to enter mainland Spain and the Canary Islands must be double vaccinated. Due to the rules, many UK families have cancelled their half-term trips. Hoteliers have warned the restrictions have lost them millions of pounds’ worth of trade.

They have called on the Spanish government to relax its restrictions to allow more British travellers.

Jorge Marichal, president of the Tenerife Hoteliers Association, said: “The loss could be nearly 400 million euros in the Canary Islands.

“That’s only talking about the hotels – if we take into account the restaurant economy [too] it is a huge impact.

“For us, the British market is the biggest one.

“We have more than 2.5 million British citizens coming to Tenerife every normal year.

“For us, this part of the year is one of the most important. All these profits will be lost.”

According to Europe’s largest tour operator, TUI, Mexico and Turkey are proving popular alternatives.

Hazel Bryant, from Travel with Kitts, an independent agency in Hertfordshire, said the Omicron variant forced people to rearrange Christmas trips for half-term instead.

But she said due to the Canaries and mainland Spain requiring British children over 12 needing to be double-jabbed, many families have changed their plans.

She said: “The reasons are, they’re not double vaccinated or because they’ve had Covid in the last six weeks – which means they haven’t gone for their second jab. Spain will not allow them in.”

Ms Bryant went on to say many families were switching destinations or postponing breaks untIL Easter.

She told the BBC: “It is paramount to plan early because so many people have moved holidays a year or even two years, so it will be busy and full.”

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One holiday hopeful, Ben Fishlock, booked a trip to Gran Canaria for February last year but further travel restrictions meant he has postponed his trip again.

He said: “The 12-year-old has only just turned 12 so doesn’t have his second vaccination yet.

“The fact he couldn’t get vaccinated in time just meant that we had to abort the mission.

“We only cancelled a few days ago. We thought we’d hold out until the first of February in case anything changed but unfortunately, we’ve had to pull the plug.”

Spain is not the only country with strict entry requirements for UK visitors.

In France, over-16s need to prove they are vaccinated to gain access to certain activities, including getting a ski pass.

Unvaccinated 12-15-year-olds can take a daily Covid test.

Portugal and Greece have both announced an easing of their entry rules this week.

From Friday, people travelling to the UK will no longer need to take any Covid tests if they are fully vaccinated.

However, those wanting to go on holiday overseas will still need to follow the rules set out by their destination.

Tour operator TUI said the rule changes were a “huge leap forwards in getting travel back to normal”.

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