Holiday makers to Spain to use traffic light system

by Lorraine Williamson
Holiday makers from the UK

MADRID – Spanish Tourism Under-Secretary, Fernando Valdes has made it clear that “Spain is desperate to welcome back Brits”. He is also optimistic that holiday makers will return soon.

Speaking to Sky News, Fernando Valdes said: “We will be ready here in Spain and we also think things with the vaccination scheme in the UK are going well. So hopefully this summer we will see the restart of holidays.”

However, the UK has banned international travel until at least May 17. Although there has been no confirmation that this will not be the case, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly said there is nothing in the data to suggest otherwise.

Spain welcomes British holiday makers

Shapps told MPs: “We’ll confirm in early May if non-essential international travel can resume on May 17.”

Prior to this date, it is expected that Johnson will announce a “traffic light” system for travel. There will be three different categories that holiday makers must take into consideration. These are categorised as red, amber, and green. Each country will be listed based on the percentage rate of population vaccinated, incidence rates.  It will also consider any information of potential new variants.

The traffic light system

For those countries classed as “green”, travellers could be expected to take a PCR test prior to the return flight. And a further test on or before their second day back in the UK. Unless a positive result is received, quarantine will not be necessary. Depending on the country you are travelling to, you may also need a test to enter.

According to, the EU has suggested those who have been vaccinated, and can provide evidence of this, will not need to take a test.

Digital green certificate

The EU is currently working on its own digital green certificate. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said UK holidaymakers will be able to use the NHS app to prove their coronavirus status to green destination countries – whether that’s full vaccination or a recent negative test result.

The NHS app will show your vaccination status or whether you have recently tested negative. The government is still working on the update of the app and to ensure it will be internationally recognised.

Cogesa Expats


For countries on the “amber” list, when arriving back to the UK, travellers will require to self-isolate for 10 days. In addition to a pre-departure PCR test, further tests will be required on day 2 and day 8 of their return. Alternatively, you can cut the 10-day quarantine by taking a further test on day 5 provided it is negative.


If a country appears on the “red list”, holiday makers will follow the current restrictions. These require travellers to book into a government approved quarantine hotel at their own expense for a 10-day period. Mandatory PCR testing will also take place prior to their return on day 2 and 8 after return.

PCR test can range from 100-160 although it is hoped this will be reduced. Quarantine hotels are 1750GBP for the ten days.

Holiday makers will be responsible for making sure they have evidence of vaccination before travel. If for any reason you do not, you will be liable for any additional test costs that are required.

Balearic and Canary Islands

According to Spanish newspaper,, the UK Transport Minister announced the Balearic Islands, and the Canary Islands are on the “green list”. Shapps advised although the traffic light system has not been released yet, certain destinations highly valued by British tourists could be green. Among them are the Balearic and Canary Islands archipelagos, as well as the Azores (Portugal) or the Greek islands. These territories may have the minimum travel restrictions, regardless of the epidemiological situation in the rest of the country.

However, as reported by the MajorcaDailyBulletin, The British Ambassador, Hugh Elliott, said in Ibiza on Wednesday that he could not give any guarantee that the Balearics will receive differential treatment to the mainland when it comes to UK holiday travel status (the traffic light system).

Increase or decrease in incidence rates

There is also the possibility as incidence rates increase or decrease in countries, that this will be reflected in the traffic light system. As reported in, The government may give two weeks’ notice of a country at risk of losing its ‘green’ category status under the traffic-light system for restarting international travel, transport secretary Grant Shapps has revealed.

It is hoped the traffic light system will be confirmed in the next few days together with the list of countries in each category.

You may also like