British holidaymakers are unlikely to return to Spain until August after Boris Johnson delayed the final phase of lockdown.
In yet another bitter blow to the UK and Spanish travel and hospitality sectors, the Prime Minister announced on Monday that due to fears surrounding the new Delta variant, restrictions would be extended for another four weeks until July 19.
While trips to Spain and other parts of the world are still permitted after restrictions were lifted in May, some travel experts believe that the tourism sectors will not begin to recover until at least August.
Paul Charles of the PC Agency warned that due to the threat of the Delta variant, it was unlikely that any new destinations would be added to the UK government’s green list.
He said, "My clear understanding is that UK Government Ministers do not intend to open up travel to mainland Europe or the USA before the end of July."
Charles also claims that travel will only open fully once the Delta variant has been “eradicated” and those in the 18-year-olds bracket had been vaccinated.
According to the Daily Telegraph, UK ambassadors to Spain and other European destinations have already warned local officials that British travellers were unlikely to return in large numbers until August.
Toni Mayor, the President of the Valencian Hotel Association said he believed that significant numbers of UK travellers would only return fully in August after speaking with the UK’s ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliot.
"The overall infection levels in Spain are still high in places and the picture is uneven, so I think we will have to wait, possibly until July 20," Mr Mayor said.
Following the announcement, TUI cancelled the majority of their holidays to Spain and other popular destinations including Italy and Greece until July 11, although this date is likely to be extended.
Another popular operator Jet2 also cancelled flights until July 1 while OnTheBeach also cancelled holiday sales until August.
At this moment in time, there are just 11 countries that feature on the UK’s green travel safe list which are Israel, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Iceland, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, St Helena including Tristan da Cunha and Ascension Island.
The vast majority of European destinations remain on the amber list meaning that travellers must quarantine for 10 days on their return and take two Covid tests.
Despite thousands of British travellers returning to Spain in recent weeks, there are now fears that Spain could be facing a fifth Covid wave.
Cardiologist Inmaculada Roldán told LaSexta: "We are going to have a fifth wave with the youngest population in the ICU.
"I don’t like to be a prophet of doom, but the situation is going to get more complicated.”
Immunologist Alfredo Correll added that the Delta variant (previously referred to as the Indian variant) was “more contagious” and that it “shortens incubation times - it can take up to five days -and puts us at greater risk of a new wave.”
It comes as Spain’s Ministry of Health reported 8,167 new infections on Monday, far fewer than the high of 34,000 experienced in January.
As of Monday, June 15, Spain has recorded 3,741,767 cases and 80,517 deaths.