Tenerife may close to UK visitors for the rest of 2020 - here's what we know so far
UK residents may be barred from entering Tenerife from Friday 18 December, due to growing numbers of coronavirus infections on the island.
The Independent reports that discussions around tourism are underway, with president of the Canary Islands government, Angel Victor Torres, saying that arrivals will be limited to essential purposes only, which includes education, medical treatment and work, but not tourism.
While travellers will be permitted to return home, it's understood that Tenerife may close to new arrivals from midnight on Friday 18 December, for two weeks.
Ban to come into place at midnight on Friday
It's possible that an exemption may yet be made for tourists, but the holiday plans of thousands are now in doubt, with around 6,000 passengers booked to fly from the UK to Tenerife on Friday alone. An estimated 60,000 people have booked flights in the upcoming two weeks.
As the ban is expected to come in at midnight on Friday, it's expected that flights will still be able to take place throughout the day.
TUI, the UK's largest holiday company, told The Independent, “We’re aware of the news reports regarding the recent announcement that Tenerife will close its borders from Friday 18 December.
“We are currently working through what this means for our holiday programme and will update customers as soon as we have more information.”
Other airlines are yet to comment on the potential travel ban.
Scheduled flights may not be cancelled
Many of those booked to travel in the coming weeks will have already paid for the coronavirus tests now required for entry to the islands. Private tests usually cost around £120 each.
A number of trips were booked during October when the Canary Islands were added to the UK's travel corridor list.
Travellers will be entitled to a full refund if their package holiday is cancelled, but it's anticipated that many of the scheduled flights will go ahead regardless, making refunds trickier.
In addition to the potential ban on new arrivals, the islands will see tighter restrictions in an effort to stem the spread of infections, including the nightly curfew moved from 11pm to 10pm.