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Germany set to lift travel warning for parts of Spain and Portugal

The German government has sent out a major signal that Easter holidays in the sun could be back on by lifting its travel warning for Mallorca and several other popular tourist spots on the Iberian coast.

Germany set to lift travel warning for parts of Spain and Portugal
A beach in Mallorca on March 11th. Photo: Clara Margais/DPA

Starting on Sunday, Mallorca and the entire Balearic archipelago will no longer be considered risk areas for travel due to a vastly improved epidemiological situation there.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) confirmed on its website on Friday that the regions no longer had enough infections to be considered risk areas.

On Mallorca and the other Balearic islands of Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, the 7-day incidence has dropped to 21 infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a period of seven days. The threshold for classification as a risk area by the RKI is 50.

Back in December and January the Balearic Islands had some of the highest levels of infection in Spain, but the islands now have fewer cases than any region of Germany.

READ ALSO: Will it be possible to go on holiday in Germany over Easter?

On the Spanish mainland, the coastal regions of Valencian and Murcia, where the popular destinations of Benidorm, Calpe, Javea and Denia are located, will also be removed from the risk list on Sunday.

The same goes for the regions of Extremadura, La Rioja and Castilla-La Mancha. 

Large parts of Portugal will also be taken off the list despite the presence of variant strains of the virus there.

For the entire northern half of the country (Norte and Centro regions) including Porto, the travel restrictions will be lifted completely – including the ban on airline transport. 

However, the popular southern coast of the Algarve, the Atlantic island of Madeira, and the capital Lisbon will continue to be considered risk areas. 

The removal of these regions from the list means that travellers will no longer be required to take a test on their return to Germany, nor will they need to go into quarantine. However, there will be still be rules like wearing masks and observing social distancing.

At the same time, however, the German government still advises against “all but essential travel at home and abroad”.

People flying to Spain from coronavirus risk areas (which includes Germany) do not have to go into quarantine but must present a negative PCR test that is no older than 72 hours. Antigen tests are not accepted. You also have to fill out a form before travel.

READ ALSO: The updated Covid-19 restrictions for regions of Spain

The news is likely to delight tour operators, which have been pushing hard for the removal of the Balearic Islands from the risk list. 

“The hotel industry has been preparing intensively to offer safe and responsible holidays there,” TUI Germany boss Marek Andryszak said this week.

After news came through of the new classification, Andryszak told Bild newspaper that “nothing now stands in the way of the Easter holidays in Mallorca, and our teams have prepared accordingly”.

TUI now wants to start flights to Mallorca from Hanover, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf as early as March 21st.

Currently, most hotels on the Balearic Islands are still closed for the off-season and due to the pandemic. But TUI said on Friday that the first major hotels on Majorca will start operations from next weekend. Since the beginning of March, restaurants, cafés and pubs have been allowed to reopen their outdoor areas in the town until 5pm.

Last week, the Istrian peninsula on the Croatian Adriatic was the first holiday region abroad to be taken off the risk list. 

READ MORE: What you need to know about Germany’s latest rules on foreign travel

Member comments

  1. So Germany wishes to encourage travel when we are still in lockdown? And when many of us have no financial aid – even when adhering to all the social distancing rules – and still not able to have access to a vaccine?

    1. All of your points are more pertinent than this point in about to make…but I also found it confusing that in the same Local newsletter update, the first article basically says that the German government is advising that official approval for holidays is not likely to come until the second half of May…while this article indicates that the German Government are sending a “clear message” that people can travel to Ibiza for Easter. Meanwhile in the background, we’re looking likely to be put back into a harder lockdown in the next 10 days “when” the incidence rises above 100. What’s going on 😂

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How Spain’s air traffic control strike could hit your travel plans

Many of Spain’s air traffic controllers have been called to strike over the next month. Find out which dates and which airports will be affected.

How Spain's air traffic control strike could hit your travel plans

The workers’ unions USCA and CCOO have called around 162 air traffic controllers working at privatised control towers around the country to organise walkouts throughout February, affecting 28.5 percent of all air traffic in Spain.

The walkouts began on Monday January 30th and will continue every Monday until February 27th during “all work shifts that begin between 00:00 and 24:00,” they stated. Specifically, the strike days will occur on February 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th.

The airports affected by the strike will be A Coruña, Alicante-Elche, Castellón, Cuatro Vientos (Madrid), El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Ibiza, Jerez, Lanzarote, La Palma, Lleida, Murcia, Sabadell, Seville, Valencia and Vigo.

The Ministry of Transport has set minimum services depending on the type of route, which reaches 100 percent for emergency flights, the transfer of citizens or foreigners guarded by police officers and the transport of post and perishable products.  

For commercial flights with routes originating or ending at non-peninsular airports, the minimum services range between 52 percent from Lleida to 84 percent from La Coruña, depending on the estimated occupancy.

In the case of routes between foreign or Spanish cities whose travel time by road is at least five hours, the minimum services will be between 44 percent from La Palma and 57 percent from Alicante.  

For routes that can be replaced by other means of public transport in less than five hours, the minimum guaranteed services will be between 18 percent from Castellón and 30 percent from Vigo.

The workers are asking for a 5.5 percent salary increase but the proposal offered by their employers, which is 2 percent in 2023 and 2.5 percent in 2024, is “very far from their demands”.

The USCA and CCOO unions have decided to call the stoppages due to “the failure of the negotiations” with the Business Association of Civil Air Traffic Providers of the Liberalised Market (APCTA). They finally gave up trying to find a solution after several “unfruitful” meetings.

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