The Spanish government has finally reached an agreement with the regional governments of the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands to establish travel corridors with European countries in the hope of getting tourism going again. This would involve testing prior to travel for visitors from countries with an infection rate of higher than 50 per 100,000 inhabitants and all visitors would be tested before leaving the islands.
Now we just need the UK government to treat the islands separately from mainland Spain, so that quarantine on return will hopefully no longer be necessary before too long and the winter sun season has a chance of being saved.
“These protocols are the first and we hope to be able to extend them to other popular tourism destinations within Spain’s mainland”, said Reyes Maroto, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, at the end of a videoconference that was held with the presidents of the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres and Francina Armengol, respectively. The secretaries of state for tourism, Fernando Valdés; health, Silvia Cazón; and ‘Global Spain’, Manuel Muñiz also participated in the meeting.
The protocol states that any traveller arriving in the Canary Islands or the Balearic Islands from a destination with an Accumulated Incidence (AI) of 50 or fewer per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days will not need to take a test on arrival at any of the airports within the archipelagos. Those who arrive from destinations with an AI greater than 50 will have to present a negative diagnostic test for active infection carried out a maximum of 48 hours before the flight.
Before departing the islands, all travellers must undergo a diagnostic test for active infection 48 hours prior to the return flight. These tests will be carried out in centres assigned by the health authorities, at no cost to the tourist. If the test is positive, the tourist will not be allowed to fly and will have to quarantine in the destination.
The governments of the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands will cover the associated costs for the tourist if they receive a positive test and are required to quarantine, providing a series of allocated accommodation for this purpose. Healthcare or hospitalisation would also be covered where necessary. The working group that has established this protocol for tourism corridors has confirmed that the two archipelagos have the necessary capacities to adopt these measures.
To promote this initiative, special campaigns will be developed in a range of languages with the translation of materials currently underway.
These tourist corridors are complementary to the recommendations that the European Council is expected to approve next week, which seeks to standardize epidemiological criteria and the rules to restrict travel between EU countries.