Spanish Tourist Office Announces Testing Protocols To Open Up Balearic & Canary Island Tourism
Implementing the system would still need the agreement of governments in the key markets of the UK and Germany.
19th October, 2020 - The Spanish Tourist Office has published more details of its Covid-testing system designed to allow UK and German holidaymakers to return to the Balearic and Canary Islands. The testing protocols were agreed between the Spanish government and the autonomous administrations of Canary and Balearic Islands on October 13.
Implementing the system would require the agreement of other national governments like the UK and Germany.
One significant drawback to the new proposals are that UK travellers arriving back from Spain are still required to quarantine for 14 days. Also, most travel insurance is invalidated as the UK Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to the islands.
However, the Spanish Tourist Office suggest that their new system would mitigate the need for quarantine on return as “No traveller with an active infection will arrive to the Balearic Islands or Canary Islands and no infected traveller will depart from the islands.”
“They are a useful measure to reach agreements with our European partners. We hope to be able to extend these protocols within Spain’s mainland.”
Spanish industry, trade and tourism minister Reyes Maroto said at the launch of the protocols.
Despite this, the Spanish government faces a tough battle in convincing the UK authorities of the merits of the plan. Modelling by scientists on behalf of Public Health England suggests testing travellers on arrival only picks up around 7% of recent infections, while a second test after five days could identify up to 85% of infections.
While this research does support the UK travel industry's much vaunted idea of reducing the UK quarantine requirement down from the current mandatory 14 day period to 5 days plus a negative test, it is highly unlikely to sway the UK government in favour of the Spanish protocol plan.
The Spanish Tourist Office said “The regional governments of the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, together with the Spanish Government, are convinced that the tourism corridor proposal offers the necessary safety conditions for all stakeholders to be able to safely restore tourism.”