Canary islands not happy with Mallorca’s tourist experiment, saying health checks are “insufficient”
The Canary Islands would like to follow in the footsteps of Mallorca and Ibiza to carry out pilot holiday projects but ONLY if tourists are tested for coronavirus BEFORE they leave their own country.On Monday, the Balearics make history by welcoming the first of up to 10,900 Germans within the space of two weeks to “test drive” COVID-19 safeguards at the airports, transport and hotels.
The visitors will have their temperature taken on arrival and will be required to fill in a detailed health questionnaire, as well as supplying full contact details so they could be contacted in the event of an emergency during their stay. They don’t have to go into quarantine but would be taken into isolation if they developed the virus or had been close to someone who had it.
The German will spend up to five nights in hotels or holiday apartments in either Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca or Formentera. Some may be German citizens who have a second residence in any of the islands.Balearic president Francina Armengol said they had chosen Germany for two “obvious” reasons: “It is our main tourist source country and also because its epidemiological data are very similar to those of our autonomous community.”The Canary Islands, which include the British favourites of Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, say it too would like to carry out a similar experiment but doesn’t feel the health safeguards proposed in Mallorca are sufficient.Tourism leaders want coronavirus tests to be compulsory, saying: “We have a great responsibility and a small margin of error to meet two fundamental goals that guide our roadmap ie the public safety of residents and visitors and to guarantee the viability of a sector which employs 350,000 people.”The Canary government says the Balearics should only be accepting 9,300 people during the pilot project as the limit is equivalent to two per cent of the total number of holidaymakers received during the last fortnight of 2019.Tourism minister for the Canaries, Yaiza Castilla said they had written to Spain’s Ministry of Health to complain that the health regulations required during pilot schemes such as the one in Mallorca are “insufficient”.The Canaries have always advocated international tourists heading for Spain should taka a coronavirus test at source but this is not being ordered.” Covid-19 screening test need to be established as an obligation in the countries of origin,” she stressed. “Only in this way can we ensure openness with guarantees and to protect companies and workers in the tourism sectors from a possible second wave which would mean a new loss of activity and create a very negative impact for the Canary Islands’ brand.”She reiterated the willingness of the Canary Islands to participate in the international tourism pilot project, for which protocols had already been drawn up, as long as the flights are carried out under reciprocal security conditions and with PCR proof. The Canaries haven’t specified where they would like any “test tourists” to come from but it is unlikely to be from the UK because of Britain’s coronavirus figures.Spain is expecting news from the EU within the next few days over what measures need to be taken for international travel and at airports.