Canary Islands’ tourism chiefs are pinning their hopes on a test that can give on the spot results in a bid to reassure tourists that visiting the archipelago is safe.
Spain’s Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto has pledged to introduce a policy of testing visitors to aid the creation of “travel corridors” and encourage winter sun seekers to visit the islands.
On Thursday she announced that Spain would seek to collaborate with EU member countries to draw up new plans to enable tourists to return.
New protocols will be presented to the EU Commission by tourism chiefs on September 28th, she said.
Morato insisted that compulsory testing on arrival could enable safe travel and reduce the need for visitors to quarantine on their return.
The UK placed Spain on the quarantine list back in July after Spain saw a surge in cases that have now reached over half a million since the pandemic began.
Hoteliers on the Atlantic archipelago which is a hugely population winter sun destination and earns half of its annual tourism revenues during the winter months, are lobbying for fast-track testing on arrival and departure would see the travel warnings from UK and Germany lifted.
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Tourists at Playa de las Americas on Tenerife. Photo: AFP
“There are tests that are faster and much cheaper than PCRs. There are frequent meetings about it”, a spokeswoman of the regional government tourist department told Reuters.
Cruise ships may also be welcomed back as early as October, if widespread on the spot testing can be introduced.
Earlier in the week, Spain's foreign minister Arancha González Laya announced plans to negotiate with other countries to distinguish between locations in Spain based on the evolution of the virus in Spain's different regions.
She wants Spain's islands to be treated separarely from the mainland when it comes to travel advice.
“Our wish is to restore the tourist flows as soon as possible,” she said hoping that the UK would consider lifting quarantine for those returning from resorts where there was a low incidence of cases.
“It is an extremely important issue for the Canary Islands which, unlike other Spanish territories, have a winter tourism season,” she said.