UK holidaymakers on the Canary Islands have hit out at new quarantine rules which have disrupted their Christmas plans.
Travellers arriving in the UK from the popular Spanish islands from 4am on Saturday must self-isolate for two weeks.
Tour operator TUI said it has around 5,000 UK holidaymakers on the islands, with a further 800 booked to fly out on Friday morning.
The Canary Islands were removed from the UK’s travel corridors list on Thursday amid a growing positivity rate of COVID-19 tests.
Most people returning to the UK from destinations not on the list must self-isolate for 14 days at the moment, although that will change to 10 days from Monday.
This period can be shorter for people arriving in England from next Tuesday – if they pay to take a coronavirus test at least five days after they land and receive a negative result.
Steve Hay, from Bournemouth, arrived in Lanzarote on Thursday for a seven-day break worth £2,000 with his family.
He said they were “looking at options” as self-isolating for 10 or 14 days on their return would take them into the Christmas period, when limited household mixing is to be allowed.
He added: “I think it’s shocking and doesn’t appear much thought has gone into it.
“Why is it being implemented so quick? This only gives us tomorrow (Friday) to get back. I think it’s crazy and the Canaries cannot be looked at as a whole – each island should be rated.”
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The removal of the popular winter sun destination from the travel corridors list is a major blow to the UK travel industry, which is already seriously struggling.
Many companies recorded a surge in bookings for the Canary Islands when they were added to the travel corridor list in October.
TUI is offering a date or destination change for customers due to be on the islands between Friday and 17 December, but will continue to operate flights unless the Foreign Office further toughens its travel advice.
Currently, the Foreign Office advises against non-essential travel to the vast majority of countries, meaning many potential trips cannot take place.
Meanwhile, people arriving in the UK from Botswana and Saudi Arabia will not need to isolate from Saturday after the two countries were put on the travel corridor list.