José Luis Ábalos, Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, has been convinced this Saturday that the obligation to provide a mandatory PCR for all travelers who go to the Canary Islands from this Monday will help make the islands safer and more attractive for international tourism.
According to Ábalos during a visit to the airport Tenerife South, the Government has followed the “recommendation” of the European Union and foresees that it will contribute to “strengthen the perception” that the Canary Islands “is a safe place for holidays”. However, it has done so many months late while the argument in favor of the Executive defended that infections did not enter through airports.
“Recovering tourism is a priority,” Ábalos said due to the economic crisis facing the Canary Islands. Minister Ábalos has avoided referring to the request of the Canarian Government to add antigen tests as proof to travel to Spain, as the Canarian Government does in its own regional decree to stay in tourist complexes.
Cheer for the high season
The winter season in the Canary Islands is not lost. Unlike. The archipelago is postulated as the next vacation oasis of the Old Continent if the tourist corridors are launched with PCR tests at origin and destination. For the moment, the islands have already begun to receive visitors from the United Kingdom and Germany – their main emitting countries – after both decided to end their tourist ban on the Canary Islands. The most promising forecasts suggest that tourist occupancy could grow between 70% and 80% in the final stretch of the year, at least in homes for tourist use. Currently, occupancy barely reaches 10%, according to ASCAV, the Canary Islands holiday rental association.
Despite the fact that the tourism sector aspires for the Canary Islands to become the only safe sun and beach destination in the environment in the middle of winter, they also demand responsibility to control the contagion curve. The Canary Islands have one of the lowest rates in the country, below the 5% recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization), which has allowed them to stay out of the curfew decreed by the Government. «The PRC tests give us security guarantees. What we do not want is to open the borders, fill the Canary Islands with tourists and import the virus, which would leave us in a delicate situation again. We want to protect the continuity of tourism, but also protect the health of residents. We are an island, it is easy to control the entrances and exits », they explain from ASCAV to this newspaper.
From the Ashotel, the Hotel and Extra-Hotel Association of Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro prefer not to make forecasts about the occupation of the coming months, although it does recognize that the recent decisions of the United Kingdom and Germany are a relief for the tourist sector of the islands. It also calls for “responsibility” to all citizens, public and private organizations in the Canary Islands, to control the contagion curve and maintain connectivity with these countries over time.
The hoteliers believe that the ‘free route’ to travel to the Canary Islands should be used to advance by the Spanish Government in the signing of safe tourist corridors. “It is time to sign the corridors and, little by little, as the infection rate improves, these bilateral agreements can be replicated in other national and European tourist destinations. We must not be stingy and the more connectivity we have, always within logical control, the Canary Islands will continue to be a very competitive market ”, recently asked Jorge Marichal, president of Ashotel and of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (CEHAT).
When entering the hotel
Specifically, the Government would require national and foreign tourists a certificate of negative covid-19 test carried out within a period of no more than 48 or 72 hours prior to their arrival at the destination, which will be required to be able to access tourist accommodation as a hotel, apartment or vacation home.
In case of not presenting said document, the tourist accommodation will not be accessible and the person will be urged to take the test in a health center or laboratory, paying for it out of pocket.
The decree law complies with the limits set by the autonomic powers to undertake a legal regulation in this matter and “has been configured to respond to a situation that requires immediate action,” said the counselor. If necessary, the Canary Islands Government would even contemplate, in guarantee of the sanitary reciprocity that it defends that it should exist, offer the tourist a test before their return to the country of origin.