THE European Commission’s package of guidelines and recommendations for a gradual lifting of travel restrictions and to enable a reactivation of EU member-states’ tourism sectors while protecting public health has comes as music to the ears for the Balearic Islands.
The archipelago’s politicians, hoteliers, travel agencies and tour operators were left stunned by the Spanish government’s announcement on a 14-day compulsory quarantine requirement for travellers arriving from abroad from tomorrow May 15.
The move was seen as a major blow to hopes of rebooting tourism on the islands as soon as possible following months of lockdown, given the importance of the foreign visitor market to the islands’ sector, and poured ice cold water on the expectations raised by recent news on airlines’ plans to start restart flights to the Balearics next month.
The quarantine decision was one of the main issues discussed by Balearic president Francina Armengol and Tourism and Employment regional minister Iago Negueruela in an unscheduled videoconference meeting with the Tourism and Industry Minister Reyes Maroto earlier this week.
Both Armengol and Negueruela criticised the measure “imposed” by Madrid.
“Quarantine for foreigners arriving on the islands, which comes into force this Friday, must last the least possible time and be removed in the coming de-escalation phases,” Negueruel insisted after the meeting.
The Tourism and Employment regional minister underlined the importance having a “pact at European level on the opening of borders so no kind of quarantine is necessary,” especially between areas making the same progress in bringing the Covid-19 pandemic under control.
Armengol and Neguerela both called on the Tourism and Industry Minister for the Balearics to participate in pilot projects on connectivity with other countries and with other protocols, taking advantage of the islands’ “operative advantages.”
Germany and Austria are at “similar levels” in terms of the health crisis, they pointed out, maintaining it is “essential” for the Balearics to be involved in these kinds of initiatives by the end of June or July.