Both the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands have been impacted heavily by COVID-19 due to the regions’ focus on tourism and dependency on airlift. The travel industry directly accounts for 35% of GDP in both regions; with the UK being the main source market in the Canary Islands; and the second source market for the Balearic Islands.
However, there continues to be an appetite to travel to both the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands as long as reliable safety measures are guaranteed.
As such, the Spanish Government has reached an agreement with the regional governments of the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands on a protocol to establish travel corridors with European countries. The agreement has been established to allow the mobility of travellers in order to reactivate tourism in the two Spanish archipelagos without putting the public at risk.
The tourism corridor protocol is a programme based on the implementation of measures that will safeguard public health and minimise the risks associated with tourism mobility.
Travellers arriving from regions with an accumulated infection rate of more than 50 per 100,000 inhabitants during the previous 14 days will need to undergo an active infection diagnostic test 48 hours before flying and present a negative test result to be able to travel. Those coming from source markets with an accumulated infection rate of 50 or less over the prior 14 day period will not be required to undergo a test prior to arrival.
Prior to departure, all travellers will also undergo an active infection diagnostic test (preferably a rapid antigen test if so agreed, otherwise a PCR test) before leaving the islands. This huge testing effort seeks to guarantee that travellers returning from these regions will not face quarantines on their return. Under this system, no traveller with active infection will arrive in the Balearic Islands or Canary Islands and no infected traveller will depart from the islands. The system would therefore guarantee safety for tourists, island residents and the wider populations in both countries.
Testing before return will take place on premises specifically set up for this purpose by the health authorities of the two archipelagos with sufficient time prior to departure.
The regional governments of the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands will – at no cost to the traveller – provide the necessary resources for fulfilling any required quarantine processes with agreements already in place with accommodation establishments across the islands. This proposal therefore also covers the services required for any travellers that test positive for Covid-19. Cases potentially requiring any kind of healthcare or hospital admission due to the development of serious symptoms will also be fully covered by the respective health care services in the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands.
Information and promotion will also be facilitated for tourism arrivals about the contact-tracing app “COVID Radar”. This app is already available in English, French and German with additional translations currently underway. Similarly, enhanced tourist tracing measures will be carried out, as detailed in the SpTH Overseas Health Control Forms.
These measures will ensure tourism can be restored in a safe way and eliminate fears in source countries regarding overseas travel amongst citizens.
Available Measures & Health Capacities
Available measures and health capacities, outlined by the respective archipelagos include:
|Balearic Islands||Canary Islands|
Healthcare and Quarantine Capacities
The regional governments of the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands have allocated a series of tourist accommodation establishments for quarantine purposes. These will be available for tourists who are diagnosed with Covid-19 during their stay, as well as for their close contacts.
The regional governments of the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, together with the Spanish Government are convinced that, under these conditions of prior testing and guaranteed healthcare, the tourism corridor proposal offers the necessary safety conditions for all stakeholders involved to be able to safely restore tourism. Furthermore, it responds to existing international demand and thereby helps recover trust in the tourism industry not only in the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands but throughout the whole of Spain, and the rest of the world.