Majorca and Ibiza are working towards safe air corridors with the UK removing the need to quarantine, according to the islands’ president.
In a message to Brits released today, president of the Balearic government, Francina Armengol gave no specific timescale for the proposed changes but has told the UK: “We will be seeing you soon.”
She says that the islands “share the commitment” with the UK to contain the virus and that the Balearic Islands, “far from posing a threat, are an ally, where a tranquility can be enjoyed from knowing that we have always placed health above all other considerations.”
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The letter to Brit tourists comes as Majorca suffers two coronavirus outbreaks in tourist hotels.
Ten tourists have been quarantined in a hotel near Magaluf which has been set aside for coronavirus patients who do not require hospital treatment.
One has tested positive and the nine others are self-isolating.
The hotel has been identified locally as the three-star Morlans Gardens in Peguera, a small beach resort a ten minute drive from popular Magaluf in the south-west of the island.
Another outbreak amongst hotel staff has occurred on the sout-east of the island at the Club Cala Barca hotel on the coast of Santanyí.
More than 100 people are in isolation after a staff member tested positive.
Eight more positive cases have now been detected as a result of extensive tests on all the worker’s contacts.
It is understood that at least 102 contacts have been traced as testing continues.
In the open letter Balearic President Armengol wrote: “It is true that we have had to adopt some unpopular measures, such as the closure of nightclubs, but we have done this with the conviction that if we did not eliminate the risks and guarantee health security, it would be difficult to move forward,” she says in an open letter.
“With all this in mind, I want to offer encouragement to citizens of the United Kingdom and to the companies which are engaged in the tourism industry.
“I want to thank you for the love you show us and I want to assure you that we will meet again soon.
“We are working to get the British government to establish safe corridors between the UK and our islands; connections for which no quarantine will be required, a quarantine that epidemiological data in the Balearics prove to be unnecessary.
“The Balearic Islands are a friendly and safe destination, perfectly prepared to guarantee the security of tourists and residents.
“This is demonstrated by the epidemiological data and the set of measures that we have put in place to ensure the safety of each and every one of the tourists who visit us.
“These include the creation of safe travel corridors and the provision of hospital facilities that are exclusively for Covid patients.
“We are perfectly prepared to ensure the well-being of those who visit us.
“Achieving this has required a great effort. We closed the islands for more than two months in order to curb the pandemic and we only opened up under strict health security measures.”
And she continued: “At the beginning of the summer and as the lockdown in Spain was coming to an end, the Balearic government launched a pilot plan that allowed us to open up as a a safe destination for tourism activity.
“At the moment, we have a controlled epidemiological situation, with a much lower incidence than in Spain as a whole and which has always been lower than in the UK.
“We were one of the first regions to introduce obligatory use of masks as a means of protection.
“We have limited nightlife that is associated with excesses and the consequent concentration of people, and we have implemented control measures for travellers arriving from international destinations.”
She said the Brits and the Balearics had a special tie which “goes beyond tourism”.
“There are currently around 15,000 British citizens who are registered in the Balearics and, according to data from the British consulate, the total number of residents is 22,000.
The latest outbreak on Majorca is a further blow to Spain’s tourism economy, and particularly the islands, after holiday firm Jet2 told holidaymakers in Spain to return to the UK earlier than planned or risk having to make their own way home.
Customers have had flights back to the UK cancelled and been informed by text that they will have to abandon their holidays sooner than intended.
The company said that it has taken the decision to suspend flights and holidays to Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza up to and including August 9.
Flights to mainland Spain have already been cancelled and the company is operating empty outbound flights to pick customers up, until August 3.
It comes as more British holiday dreams were in tatters after tour operator TUI extended its cancellation of holidays to mainland Spain until August 17, and the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands until August 10.
But Britain’s biggest package holiday firm said it would add flights to Greece and Turkey “following the overwhelming demand from customers to still get away this summer”
According to flight search engine Skyscanner, searches for Spanish airports dropped out of the UK’s top 10 most searched destinations on Sunday, the day after the announcement on quarantine.
And in more misery, the travel company is to close 166 High Street stores in the UK and Ireland, affecting up to 900 jobs.
TUI said it hoped to keep on 630 workers in a mix of sales and home-working roles and in remaining stores.
The decision was made after changes in customer behaviour, including a shift to online, the firm said in a statement. About 350 retail stores will remain following the closures.