BRITISH QUARANTINE HAS HALTED WINTER BOOKINGS FOR THE CANARY ISLANDS
The Canaries are already starting to feel the consequences of the British Government's decision to quarantine those who return from Spain.
Hoteliers have acknowledged that cancellations of the few UK bookings they had, have begun, and that winter bookings from British holidaymakers have been "brought to a halt" due to the uncertainty generated by the UK's decision to discourage travel to Spain, including the Canary Islands.
The British decision to discourage citizens to travel to Spain due to the increase in the rate of infections, which in the case of the Canary Islands continues to be well below those registered in the UK, has also led to many hotels deciding not to reopen.
The president of the Federation of Hospitality and Tourism Entrepreneurs (FEHT) of Las Palmas, José María Mañaricua, has highlighted two key aspects to put the real impact of these restrictions into perspective.
The first, he says, is that lights between the Canary Islands and the United Kingdom, were only resumed two weeks ago, and that the passengers figures of these planes "were already very low before the Foreign Office imposed 14 days of quarantine last weekend."
The short-term effect, on the already scarce tourist income expected by the sector before the quarantine decreed by the United Kingdom, therefore, although not negligible, is relative in the current context of the situation.
The second thing that will determine the consequences of the British decision, is the temporary one: if the restrictions were prolonged, the forecast of reactivation of the destination would be seriously affected, taking into account that one in three visitors comes from the United Kingdom. The problem is that there is no clear scenario on this.
The British Government is going to monitor Spain to make decisions week by week, so that from one day to the next it could change, and they lift the quarantine.
"And who knows what they'll do taking into account they imposed it for a territory like the Canary Islands, with a much lower incidence of infections than the UK itself," said Mañaricua.
What is clear, is that winter reservations have been "frozen" since the announcement, and time is against us: "Many people make their bookings in August for holidays in October, November and December. Nor can we avoid the risk that the British decide to book other destinations when they're in doubt about whether or not they can fly to the islands. But everything can change overnight," reiterates Mañaricua.
Yesterday Canary Islands airports operated 15 flights from the UK, but all landed with minimum passengers as primarily they had come to return tourists to their places of origin.