The Canary Islands, the Maldives, Denmark and Mykonos have all been added back on to the UK’s travel corridors list, transport secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed.
Travellers returning from those destinations will no longer have to quarantine for 14 days on return.
The changes to the travel corridors system will come into effect from 4am on Sunday morning.
The announcement is a welcome boost for holidaymakers seeking winter sun as the autumn draws in.
Newly relaunched travel agency Thomas Cook said that searches for holidays in the Spanish-governed islands rose to 20 times last week’s level after the announcement.
A spokesperson for the firm said: “It looks like Brits are clamouring to flock south for the winter and demand for holidays in the sun-soaked Canaries has come at just the right time for people looking for a break.
Easyjet responded to the update by adding over 180,000 extra seats to the Canaries up to the end of March 2021, with fares from just £22.99, while Ryanair put seats on sale for £29.99.
Passengers will now be able to travel to the whole of Greece, in another break for the embattled tourism industry.
A spokesperson for travel association ABTA said: “After a terrible summer season, the removal of the need to quarantine when returning to the UK from the Canary Islands, the Maldives, Denmark and Mykonos is a bit of light at the end of a very dark tunnel for the travel industry.
“We have been highlighting the need to move to a regional approach to quarantine, citing the Canary Islands as a specific example, so it is good to see the Government take action on this today.”
However, they again called for more sector-specific support for embattled travel firms.
There had been fears that Germany, Sweden and Cyprus would be added to the quarantine list, but only Liechtenstein was added in the end.
Data from Liechtenstein shows that the weekly incidence (cases) per 100,000 has increased from 65.1 on 14 October to 244.9 on 21 October. This equates to a 276 per cent increase.
However, German authorities confirmed today that all travellers from the UK would have to quarantine on arrival for 14 days, unless they could produce a negative coronavirus test.
The travel corridors announcement comes after earlier this week the first pre-departure coronavirus testing facility in the UK was unveiled at Heathrow Airport.
Set up by Swissport and Collinson, the site will first offer tests to those travelling to Italy and Hong Kong for £80. Results will be provided in one hour, the companies said.
The firms have also set up a testing centre for arrivals at the same airport, but the government has not yet approved the facility.
Ministers have argued that airport testing on arrival only identifies seven per cent of infections, and thus have been loathed to put in place a full-scale airport testing system like Germany or Italy.
Instead, they are working on a model which will cut the time people have to quarantine for in half. Shapps said this week that there are plans to roll out the system by 1 December.
However, a new study emerged overnight calling the seven per cent question into figure. Research from Oxera and Edge Health said that Public Health England’s methodology for coming up with the figure was flawed.
A testing system on arrival would identify 63 per cent of infections, they argue.
Aviation bodies like IATA called on the government to look into the study.