Andalusia offers free ‘coronavirus insurance’ to entice holidaymakers back

Andalusia offers free 'coronavirus insurance' to entice holidaymakers back
Women wearing face masks walk along La Misericordia Beach in Malaga in July. Photo: AFP
Free holiday insurance will be offered to tourists in Andalusia as part of a drive to reignite demand in the region’s tourism industry amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Having already announced a voucher with a 25 percent reduction on trips for domestic tourists, Community Tourism Councillor Juan Marín announced this week that tourist insurance will cover hospital and hotel expenses for international travellers if they are infected by COVID-19 during their stay.

The measure will be introduced from January 1st 2021.

The offer is one tactic in a host of measures aimed at reigniting the region’s decimated tourism industry, and comes alongside the discounted voucher, announced recently.

The voucher, available to all Andalusian residents traveling within the region from October to May 2021, can be used up to a maximum of three times by booking trips with the hotels and travel agencies partaking in the initiative.

A total of 321 hotels and 379 agencies along with 112 tourist apartments have already committed to the scheme, according to sources from the Ministry of Tourism Regeneration, Justice and Local Administration.

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Andalusia is not the only Community in Spain covering the expenses of travellers in cases of coronavirus, however. 

The Canary Islands also adopted a travel insurance policy back in August to guarantee that tourists, both national and international, will have all expenses accrued by a COVID related incident including repatriation, medical expenses, and any stays in quarantine, covered by the scheme.

Spain has not only faced severe pressure on its medical services, being one of the world leaders in both cases and deaths, but the global shutdown has also had serious ramifications on its tourism industry and economy more broadly.

Just 204,926 international visitors visited Spain in June, a plummet of 97.7 percent from the same month the previous year, and tourist spending in the first half of the year decreased by 70.6 percent to just €11.84 billion.

The sector lost 27.3 million visitors and €28.4 billion in revenue during the first half of the year, and regional governments across Spain are now trying to come up with ways of enticing tourists, both domestic and international, back to Spain whilst ensuring they can do so safely. 

By Conor Patrick Faulkner

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