Thousands book Canary Islands holidays in half-term dash to sun

Tour operator and airline Jet2 booked more than 5,500 holidays to the Canary Islands within hours of the government lifting coronavirus quarantine regulations covering the popular holiday destinations.

The islands were added to the safe travel list alongside the Maldives, Denmark and Mykonos on Thursday and holidaymakers flocked to secure a late-year sunshine break.

Changes apply from 4am on Sunday which means that passengers returning to the UK after that date will not be forced to go into quarantine for 14 days.

Jet2 will resume flights to Tenerife from October 30, as well as Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, all commencing from November 1 onwards.

Flights will leave from all nine of its UK bases at Belfast International, Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle and London Stansted.

Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: “For some time we have been calling for a proportionate, evidence-based approach to safe travel and this is very much a step in the right direction.

“There is much to do still, and we look forward to working with government to achieve that.

“The Canary Islands are hugely important, both for us as a business and for our customers as a much-loved holiday favourite. We know how much our customers want to get away for some winter sun in the Canaries, and they can do this again from October 30 onwards.”

Travel agent Hays Travel reported a massive 754 per cent increase increase in internet searches for Tenerife after the rules were eased. Most popular destinations were beach spots of Los Cristianos, Costa Adeje and Playa De Las Americas.

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Meanwhile, the surge in bookings has been welcomed in the resorts.

Michelle Braddock, co-founder of Lanzarote Retreats, said: “The change in advice has been long overdue. This offers some of the businesses here a lifeline and the chance to make up for earlier losses.”

Sergio Zertuche, head of sales at Palladium Hotel Group, added: “The UK is one of the most important markets for Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife so we’re delighted to see the change in advice.

“We look forward to welcoming guests from November 13 for some much-required winter sun.

“In addition, all Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife guests are offered free health care insurance, Stay Safe, which gives protection against any unforeseen circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is all with the aim of ensuring our guests have a Rockstar holiday this winter.”