Spain holiday chaos: Thousands of cancellations as Britons face ‘ridiculous’ tough rules

Benidorm Sun, Sea and Sangria: Couple on their love for resort

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Children over the age of 12 have to be fully vaccinated to travel to Spain and the Canary Islands. In the UK, some teenagers still haven’t had the chance to be fully vaccinated, especially if they have just turned 12.

British tourist, Ben Fishlock told BBC News that he had to cancel a holiday to Gran Canaria for this February half term.

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.”

TUI has said alternative destinations such as Mexico and Turkey are proving to be popular as families turn away from Spain.

A Benidorm based hotel association, Hosbec, said it had suffered “thousands of cancellations” from families in the UK.

Julia Lo-Bo Said, CEO of the Advantage Travel Partnership, tweeted: “Sales leaderboard for members last week is interesting.

“Notably with the Canary Islands losing share week on week. When you impose ridiculous travel rules on unvaccinated British children and adults, that happens.”

She added: “Across our UK wide membership last week, Greece, Portugal and Dubai all gained an increase in share from bookings made through one of our travel agent partners.”

Winter is normally peak season for the Canary Islands and islands such as Tenerife and Lanzarote are under pressure.

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 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.”

Tourism officials in Lanzarote have pleaded with the Spanish Government to relax the tough rules.

They said unless there is a change in the restrictions on unvaccinated children they will lose out to other destinations.

In contrast to Spain, Greece and Portugal announced a relaxation of travel rules this week in welcome news for British tourists.

Fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to take a Covid test to travel to either country this year.

TUI said: “We’re already seeing a trend of ‘test-free holidays’ for customers who are fully vaccinated, as people look to go abroad with ease and without the added expense of testing.”

From February 10, tourists and residents will no longer need to wear face masks outside in Spain.

Travel experts have advised British tourists to check travel restrictions before booking a holiday.

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