A Spanish tourism group says the country is committing ‘harakiri’ by requiring proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 for British children aged 12 and above.

The Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation(Cehat) claims the new rule has led to ‘tens of thousands of cancellations’.

All EU countries are imposing the restriction on non-member states including the United Kingdom.

As the UK vaccination programme for youngsters is not as extensive as in the EU, families are cancelling winter breaks.

Cehat does admit though that the rise of the Omicron variant has also played its part.

Holiday costs have also risen with the return of mandatory COVID testing before people fly back to the UK.

There’s also the need to self-isolate after returning while waiting for a negative test result.

Over the child vaccination rules, Cehat president, Jorge Marichal, said: “We are committing harakiri. We do not understand these inconsistent measures that seriously harm a sector that has had an exemplary attitude and constant cooperation throughout the pandemic.”

“We have been the first to accept the control and requirement of COVID passports in our establishments; we have closed our accommodations; we have been refuge hotels; and we have collaborated with health services.”

Cehat referred to a ‘British operator’ as cancelling 60,000 reservations due to the current situation.

A significant impact has been reported on the Canary Islands, which are currently in the ‘high season’.

The Balearic Islands and destinations like Benidorm on the Costa Blanca are also being affected.

Jorge Marichal added: “We do not understand why common sense does not apply and the same protocols are established for all children and families who wish to travel to our country this Christmas.”

The new situation has seen traditionally high prices for Christmas and the New Year collapse.

Budget carrier Ryanair is charging €25 for a return flight from Liverpool to Alicante-Elche airport, departing on December 22 and coming back on Boxing Day.

Tour operator Tui is offering a €400 per person two-week all-in Costa Blanca festive break including flights, accommodation, meals and transfers.


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