The UK government has confirmed that popular Spanish tourist regions including Murcia will remain on the “amber list” for UK leisure travel. This means tourists from the UK visiting Murcia’s Costa Cálida – and the rest of Spain – will continue to be exempt from self-isolation protocols on their return home.
Previously, the UK government had reportedly been considering expanding its “amber-plus” category to include Spain, which would have meant the country being on a watch-list constantly reviewing its travel status.
In the end, however, pressure from the travel and airline industry, and within the government’s own ranks, prompted prime minister Boris Johnson to backtrack on the plan. The industry had been concerned that creating uncertainty about a tourist destination’s ongoing status – and the potential of it being downgraded to “red” (and thus requiring 10 days of expensive hotel quarantine) – would upset the holiday plans, and bookings, of millions of UK holidaymakers seeking a long-awaited summer getaway in the sun.
Speaking during a visit to Airbus, Johnson said, “On travel, we have had to balance it because of the anxiety that I think a lot of people have – I have – about importing new variants, bringing back the disease. We also have to recognise that people want, badly, to go on their summer holidays, we need to get the travel industry moving again… and so we want an approach that is as simple as we can possibly make it.”
According to Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, “People want a clear and consistent travel system that they understand and that is workable. We now need to go further and set our sights on the real prize this week – getting more countries onto that green list before it’s too late.”
For now the industry is optimistic that – at least for three weeks until the next government review – UK tourists will be able to book their holidays to Murcia and other top resorts in Spain without worrying about having to self-isolate in hotels when they return.