FCO warns UK tourists against traveling to Spain

The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) has changed its guidance to include the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands in its advice to avoid all but essential travel to Spain.

Anyone travelling from those locations to the UK must quarantine for 14 days.

The self-isolation rule was announced on Saturday, but many had hoped Spain’s islands would be exempt due to their low coronavirus rates.

Those hopes were crushed with an update from the FCO, which said people should avoid travelling to the islands, as well as the mainland, due to the “current assessment of COVID-19 risks in the country”.

What prompted the FCO’s turnaround on Spain?

An FCO spokesperson said: “We have considered the overall situation for British nationals travelling to and from the Balearic and Canary Islands, including the impact of the requirement to self-isolate on return to the UK, and concluded that we should advise British nationals against all non-essential travel to the whole of Spain.”

Downing Street earlier warned the public that “no travel is risk-free” during the coronavirus pandemic after huge disruption was caused by a change in quarantine rules.

Travel firm TUI UK has cancelled holidays to the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands following the FCO’s advice but said that the decision is damaging business for the travel industry.

The company has cancelled holidays to the islands from July 28 up to and including July 31. Holidays to mainland Spain were already cancelled up to and including August 9.

TUI said that customers due to travel to Spanish destinations up until August 9 will be able to cancel or amend their holiday or receive a full refund “or the option to rebook their holiday with a booking incentive”.

TUI customers with island holidays booked from August 1 and mainland Spain from August 10 will be updated on Friday, July 31, the spokesperson said.

Jet2 said flights from the UK to the Balearic and Canary Islands from the UK will not be operational from Tuesday, July 28.

A spokesperson for the company said: “This advice also applies to customers travelling to any of our destinations in mainland Spain. We will be operating our scheduled programme of flights back to the UK from these destinations tomorrow.

“This is an extremely fast-moving situation, and we will provide a further update tomorrow.”

The government has been criticised for announcing mandatory quarantine rules, without warning, on Saturday evening – just hours before they were due to come into effect.

Labour criticised the “chaotic nature of the decision making” but Number 10 has defended the last-minute move, saying border measures and travel advice can be “changed rapidly” in order to protect the UK from coronavirus.