Holidaymakers are waiting anxiously for the next update of the government’s traffic light system for foreign travel – with Spain the focus of many people’s attention.
The next review of the system is due sometime next week, with Wednesday August 25 or Thursday August 26 being favourite. Spain is on the amber list at the moment, meaning fully vaccinated Brits don’t have to isolate for ten days when they get home.
Once the government opened up travel to Spain on July 19, the number of British tourists heading off for some much-needed sun rocketed, with tens of thousands taking off for the Costas and the Balearic Islands of Majorca, Minorca, and Ibiza.
But now some of those already there will be nervously awaiting the next government announcement on foreign travel hoping the country doesn’t move from the amber list to the red one. Such a move could mean holidaymakers having to quarantine in a hotel on their return, the price of which has recently gone up to £2,250.
Before the pandemic struck, Spain was the number one foreign destination for British travellers, with more than 18 million of us heading there in 2019.
And it’s easy to understand why, with almost guaranteed sunshine, a warm welcome, sandy beaches and relatively cheap flights, with plenty of reasonably priced hotels, villas and apartments available.
Spain has suffered more than most countries from the travel limitations imposed due to the pandemic. They were desperate for the British to return.
The widespread take-up of vaccines across Europe has helped enormously but the country is still a long way from attracting the numbers it used to when it accounted for almost 12% of GDP and nearly 15% of all jobs.
The rate of infection in Spain is falling – this Monday, in the week to August 16 they were at 210 per 100,000 population, which incidentally lower than the UK figure of 298. The worrying sign for the government is the number of people returning from the country who are testing positive.
There has been an upsurge in those numbers, with the latest data from NHS Test and Trace showing that almost one in 35 of all travellers returning from Spain have tested positive for the virus.
There are many different levels of travel insurance cover available, for all kinds of Coronavirus-related circumstances. But there isn’t an insurer at the moment who would cover you if you choose to take an earlier flight home to avoid quarantine.
So, if you’re thinking of some summer sun in the next few weeks it’s worth considering the possible extra costs should the government move your destination country from the amber list to the red list.
As always, we recommend you read and understand the terms of your travel insurance policy before you take off for that much-needed break.