Proposed 'regional travel corridors' could save your Spanish holiday - here's how
The UK government says it is considering establishing regional 'travel corridors' to Spain, giving hope to thousands of holidaymakers.
The measure comes in the wake of renewed restrictions on travellers arriving into the UK from Spain, where cases of coronavirus have spiked in recent weeks.
Previously, travellers could enter the country from Spain without a mandatory quarantine period, after the country was added to the UK's 'travel corridor' list. Travel plans were thrown into disarray, however, after Spain was removed from the exemption list last week. Thousands of UK residents abroad suddenly faced a period of self-isolation upon their return home.
Regional travel corridors
A number of holidaymakers have already lost money on cancelled holiday plans to Spain in the coming weeks.
However, UK Transport minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton confirmed on July 28 that the government was considering the idea of 'regional corridors' to areas of Spain which are less affected by the spike in coronavirus cases.
On 28 July, she told Parliament, "For the time being, we are taking the approach by country for border measures but it is the case that it could be that we put them in place for regions in the future.
"We are not there yet but we are certainly looking at it because it is an appropriate consideration."
'Blanket quarantine is illogical'
Currently, the worst-affected regions in Spain are concentrated in the North East of the country, with Aragon the hardest-hit by the coronavirus spike. Catalonia - where popular holiday spot Barcelona is located - has also seen a significant spike in case numbers.
Some officials and tourism groups have been critical of the UK's blanket quarantine measures, given the spike in cases is concentrated largely to a few regions.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez pointed this out on 27 July, adding that the country's infection rate is still lower than the UK's.
"In most of Spain, the incidence is very much inferior to even the numbers registered in the United Kingdom," he said.
Mr Sanchez added that he was in talks with the UK in hopes that the blanket quarantine measures could be relaxed for certain Spanish regions.
Spain's tourism association has gone as far to offer coronavirus tests to tourists, calling the UK government's decision "illogical" and "unfair."
Could the islands be made exempt?
If regional air bridges were implemented, the Spanish islands may be some of the areas exempt from the quarantine rule, given cases there are currently low.
Daniel Trigg, chairman of the Lanzarote Business and Residents' Association, told Sky News that Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, currently has one case of coronavirus, and that the Islands should not be treated in the same way as mainland Spain.
"It came out of nowhere", he said.
"We do not understand how the Canary Islands can be included.
"We've complied with everything and just do not understand why we're all put in the same category as mainland Spain."