By Tony Winterburn • 12 October 2020 • 16:02
A protocol to establish travel corridors with European countries has been agreed between the Spanish government the regional executives of the Canary and Balearic Islands.
A spokesman for tourism on the islands said the aim of the protocol is to reactivate tourism in the two Spanish archipelagos without putting the public at risk at a time while they still remain off the UK government’s travel corridors list.
It is understood that the idea is that any traveller arriving in the two sets of islands from a destination with an Accumulated Incidence (AI) of 50 or less per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days would not have to undergo any test at any of the airports within the Spanish 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. All travellers must also take a diagnostic test for active infection 48 hours prior to their return flight from the islands.
Covid-19 tests will be carried out in centres assigned by the health authorities, at no cost to the tourist. Travellers tested positive will not be allowed to fly and will have to quarantine in the destination. The Canary and Balearic governments 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. All healthcare or hospitalisation costs, if required, would also be covered where necessary.
Jet2 recently cancelled all flights to the Canary islands for October, citing low demand and insecurity over the UK’s quarantine system.
An offical working group that has established the protocol for tourism corridors confirmed that the two archipelagos have the necessary capacities to adopt these measures. Special campaigns will be developed in a range of languages with the translation of materials currently underway to promote the initiative. The tourist corridors are complementary to recommendations that the European Council is expected to approve next week, which seeks to standardise epidemiological criteria and the rules to restrict travel between EU countries.
Spanish industry, trade and tourism minister Reyes Maroto said: “The protocols are a useful measure to reach agreements with our European partners to allow us to recover mobility and reactivate the flow of tourists with safe conditions. These protocols are the first and we hope to be able to extend them to other popular tourism destinations within Spain’s mainland.”
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What about travelling the other way? Will this also operate for people who live in either group of islands but had plans to travel to other European countries this year? A friend and I had tickets to Amsterdam for this April, and now have vouchers from the airline. We live on El Hierro, Canary Islands but would have to travel through Tenerife, and probably Madrid. For now, we would be put in quarantine on arrival at Schiphol which wouldn´t be much of a holiday. But we would like to go as soon as possible. Does anyone know if this “travel corridor” will also be usable by us?
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