THE Canary Islands are hoping for a recovery of national tourism in the summer months.
Commenting during an interview on Spanish television on Wednesday, the archipelago’s president Angel Victor Torres said it was good news that three of the islands will move into the first phase of the coronavirus crisis lockdown de-escalation before other parts of Spain.
La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa will, along with along with the Balearic Island of Formentera, begin a gradual return to the new normality next Monday May 4, while the rest of the country will have to wait an additional week.
The geography of the region had worked in its favour in terms of containing the spread of the virus, Torres pointed out.
“The islands are isolated and confined, and this has allowed them to enter into the first phase early.
“First traffic between the islands, then the mainland and then international. Let’s see if in July and August we can recover national tourism normality.”
But he also recognised that normality will be of a new kind.
“Coronavirus is not going to go away, to die off,” he commented.
We have increasingly more resources, but it’s not going to go until a vaccine arrives. Until then we will have to change our habits.”
Speaking on when the islands’ beaches will be opened up again to sunbathers and swimmers, he explained the intention was that it would be “as soon as possible, but always with maximum safety.
“When we go to the beaches it will have to be keeping distances until there is a vaccine. Until then, new habits.”
Torres said the Covid-19 emergency was having a major impact on the island’s economy, and had left some 200,000 Canary Islanders on ERTE temporary suspensions of job contracts, most of them tourist sector workers.
“Thirty five per cent of our GDP comes from tourism. We live from the 16 million tourists who visit the islands, mainly from the UK and Germany”, he stressed.
“It will take time to recover that normality.”