Britain remains on track to leave the EU on January 1st 2021 and this will affect both British visitors and tourists, and British residents in Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands.
From January, British visitors will have to use the non-EU passport queue at Gran Canaria airport and will be electronically logged in as a visitor to the Schengen Area.
British citizens will only be allowed to spend 90 days within the Schengen Zone during a rolling 180 day period. This won't affect most holidaymakers but does pose a problem for those who plan to spend the winter in the Canaries. For example, you cannot avoid the 90 day limit by popping to Marrakesh for the weekend or spending a week back in the UK.
British citizens will not require a visa for entry for stays of less than 90 days, and where they will not be working. However, they will have to pay for the EU Visa waiver scheme to be called ETIAS. This will start at some point in 2021 and cost about seven euros.
Pets: The EU Pet passport scheme will no longer be valid for British citizens and the new rules are not yet clear.
Roaming Charges: UK telecoms firms are not obliged to keep up with flat roaming charges but some have said that they will.
Driving Licences: For now your UK driving license will be valid for car rental in Gran Canaria. This may change in the future but is unlikely. Residents should swap over to a Spanish license before the end of 2020.
Healthcare: British citizens will no longer be included in the European Health Card (EHIC) system and will have to pay for comprehensive travel insurance that includes cover for any preexisting conditions.
Customs: All good purchased in the UK will be subject to inspection and relevant import taxes.
All UK citizens should register with extranjeria and make sure that they are registered as permanent residents if possible. You can now swap the little bit of green NIE paper for a TIE card complete with photo; this is not obligatory but does give you legally valid photo ID with having to carry your passport at all times.
With travel just starting back up after Coronavirus lockdowns all over Europe, lots of people are asking if it is a good idea to travel to Gran Canaria on holiday. For many people summer and autumn of 2020 are an excellent time to come on holiday to Gran Canaria.
The beaches are quiet in a good way, hotels are relaxed and not crowded, plenty of shops and restaurants are open and more open up every day.
Members of our Gran Canaria Facebook Group have already arrived in Gran Canaria and shared their experiences. They are almost all completely positive...
"Dont be put off coming here, we flew from Luton yesterday, the flight is actually alot more pleasent with restrictions in place, more space on the plane & the staff are extra helpful.
Everyone has been welcoming in Mogán and we've been greeted with open arms, restaurants are table service (which i prefer) the beaches are open, shops are open as long as you wear a mask inside, restaurants a mask isnt needed. If i was you id get over here while its still quiet to be honest its been amazing".
"Here for almost two weeks now. Its very relaxed, not many tourists yet. If you like to go wild and searching for nightlife think you may be at the wrong spot at this moment.And the mask wearing is very good to do. Just follow the rules and its all ok. More things opened the last few days, so that good progress"
"Places are slowly opening up, some hotels restaurants and bars. The weather is very hot and it's good to see people arriving on the island again"
Let's have a look at some of the main concerns about travelling to Gran Canaria in 2020
My insurance isn't valid: Many insurance companies have changed their terms and conditions so it is definitely worth checking that yours covers Coronavirus-related issues. There are insurers that offer decent coverage. ASDA in the UK seems to offer a good policy at the moment.
You have to have a Covid-19 test? At the moment all you need to visit Gran Canaria fill in this online form and download or print the QR code it generates. Do it within 48 hours of travelling.
Flights keep getting cancelled: Ryanair, EasyJet and WizzAir seem to be following their schedules well but there have been some cancellations. These will get rarer as the travel industry gets going agian.
Traveling by plane is dangerous: There is little evidence that people catch Covid-19 on planes. They have high-quality air filters and airflow that prevents droplets from spreading within the cabin.
Spain has lots of Coronavirus: Parts of Spain was hit hard by the initial wave of the virus but it reacted well and levels are now low and dropping all over the country. In Gran Canaria the virus never really got into the population and the island always had one of the lowest Covid-19 levels in Europe.
We'll need to wear masks all the time: You only have to wear masks in Gran Canaria when you can't stay more then 1.5 metres from other people. Basically this means that you only have to wear them in shops, supermarkets and indoor areas of hotels where people tend to gather. You don't have to wear them around the pool, by the beach or walking around outdoors. Read our a guide to evefrything you need to know about masks and distancing in Gran Canaria.
Nothing is open in Gran Canaria: Half the hotels in the Canary Islands will be open in August and many apartment and bungalow complexes are already open. Shops are mostly open and more restaurants and bars open every day. You won't be wandering around a ghost resort because the locals are taking advantage of the summer to visit, and tourists are now flying in every day. Hotel swimming pools and beaches are open.
My accommodation isn't open: This is a genuine concern as some places shut down completely and aren't answering their email. Some travel agencies are also struggling to contact the places they have booked guests into. We've put together a list of places that we know are open and suggest that you try to contact your hotel or bungalow via Facebook, email and the telephone. As places get ready to open they start top check their emails and answer the phone. If you plan to book, contact the hotel or apartment before you book via a travel agency as some are taking bookings without checking opening dates.
If you are after a party-holiday with dancing until dawn, you should probably wait for a year or so before coming to Gran Canaria. But if you want a relaxing holiday in the sun with plenty to see and do, it might just be the best time ever to visit Gran Canaria.
The Maspalomas dune system in Gran Canaria has transformed since the beginning of the Coronavirus lockdown. The undisturbed dunes have recovered their natural shape and grown in height, and the area's native vegetation has started to recover.
The dune system, considered one of the jewels in Gran Canaria’s crown, has suffered in recent years from constant trampling and sand loss.
From now on visitors will have to stick to the eight kilometres of marked trails within the dunes or risk a fine. The new rules mean that visitors will no longer be able to walk across the dune field, sunbathe in the bushes (yeah, yeah, we know), or surf down the dunes themselves. Access to the beach along the front of the dunes will not be affected by the new rules.
The rules will be enforced by a team of six caretakers and regular police patrols, both with the ability to fine people. Fines start at 150 euros for going off the path to 600,000 euros for removing sand on a large scale.
While this move will be unpopular with those used to roaming the dunes, they are designed to protect a threatened ecosystem. The Maspalomas dunes have slowly shrunk in recent years due to constant trampling and changes to natural wind flows.
The dunes are so threatened that the authorities now transport sand from the seashore to the back of the dunes rather than let it blow into the ocean. They have also removed 15,000 invasive tilapia fish from the Charco de Maspalomas lagoon.
Tourism restarts on July 1st in Gran Canaria, the Canary Islands and Spain although we don't have many details about how it will all work. Here's what we know about travel and tourism in Gran Canaria during the rest of 2020 and beyond.
Spain's borders are currently sealed to everyone who isn't Spanish, an official resident of Spain, or one of a small number of workers from key industries such as aviation, healthcare and transportation. The border closure is in place until June 30th.
The EU's borders are sealed to all non-EU citizens and and many EU countries are restricting international travel for most of 2020.
Travel between the Canary Islands is now allowed without any restrictions and some hotels and apartments are reopening during June. More will reopen during July.
The Canary Islands president and several other government sources have stated that the islands hope to welcome Spanish tourists during the summer of 2020. This will depend on the Coronavirus case levels on the islands remaining low, and on declining levels in the rest of Spain. The two main airports in Spain, Madrid and Barcelona, are in zones that have suffered most from Covid-19.
However, the Spanish authorities now regard the epidemic to be under control and national tourism will restart on June 15.
Everyone in the Canary Islands has endured a long and strict lockdown and the islands now have one of the lowest levels of Coronavirus in Europe. The virus is no longer in community transmission according to local health authorities. This is positive for island residents and for the future of tourism here although many locals worry that tourists will bring Covid-19 back.
The Canary Islands will open to tourism with the rest of Spain on July 1st. However, the working assumption in the Canary Islands is that there will be few international tourists visiting the Canary Islands in the summer of 2020. Setting up tracking apps and travel protocols will take time and even if a vaccine or effective treatment emerges it will not be manufactured fast enough to save the summer.
At best, the Islands could get 20-30% of the normal number of tourists in the last months of 2020 with number picking up at the start of the winter season in October 2020.
The situation with Great Britain is complicated because the country still has a higher number of virus cases than Spain. We are waiting for news about how the islands plan to adress this. They may insist on people getting a test before they travel.
The ongoing Brexit process also makes the future of travel between the UK and the Canary Islands more complex. If the EU keeps it external borders closed, British tourists would not be allowed to fly to the Canary Islands after the UK leaves the EU.
The Spanish Government has announced the national timetable that governs the relaxation of quarantine rules. The lockdown will end over the next 8 weeks in four different phases. Each phase lasts for a minimum of two weeks meaning that Spain returns to normality (within the confines of social distancing) by the end of June.
Children in Gran Canaria left their homes for the first time in six weeks on Sunday 26, April in the first relaxation of Spain's strict Coronavirus lock down. If virus cases keep dropping, adults will follow them on May 2nd for short periods of exercise.
The President of the Canary Islands government, Ángel Vïctor Torres, has announced an ambitious calendar for the reopening of hotels, arguing that the islands cannot afford to wait any longer.
After six weeks of total lockdown, children under 12 are to be allowed out of their homes from April 27 after the Spanish Government announced the first tentative steps towards lifting the national State of Alarm.
Gran Canaria is currently full of Painted Lady butterflies that are currently swarming all over the island and gathering in parks and gardens to feed on flower nectar.
The Gran Canaria fires has burned through the night and is expected to continue to spread today due to high temperatures and winds. The Tamadaba forest in the west is ablaze and possibly unsaveable.
The Gran Canaria fire has burned out of control across the highlands all day and has now made its way into the vast and pristine Tamadaba pine forests of north west Gran Canaria.
A new fire that started in the forest just above Valleseco in the northern Gran Canaria highlands has now burned over 1000 hectares of forest and countryside and is spreading.
Gran Canaria forest fires are spectacular events but the island is well-prepared to deal with them and most are extinguished before they get out of control. Tourists and visitors are not at risk as Gran Canaria wildfires happen up in the mountains a long way from the resorts and the airport.
Tejeda has been evacuated after strong winds reactivated the Gran Canaria fire and pushed flames towards the town. The fire is currently out of control and spreading on several fronts.
The Gran Canaria fire has now consumed an area the size of 1000 football fields after reactivating overnight. It is currently classified as "out-of-control" and has spread from the Artenara municipality into both Galdar and Tejeda.
Eight Gran Canaria hotels made the TUI Holly list of the 100 best hotels in the world in 2019, based on customer experience surveys.
The huge new Puerto Rico mall, dubbed the Mogán Mall, is set to open next year and will contain over 140 shops plus bars, restaurants and a large Hiperdino supermarket.
Rumours that Güi Güi beach is on sale in China are true, but the whole exercise is probably just an attempt to get the Gran Canaria authorities to buy it.
A recent viral Facebook post claims that El Veril, the proposed location for Gran Canaria's Siam Park waterpark is a site of special scientific interest that must be protected. Here are the facts behind the claim.