Spain: Coronavirus threat from tourists discussed by expert
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Following the Global Travel Taskforce’s announcement of a “traffic light” system to determine where Britons can jet off to this summer, Spanish tourist officials have begun to show some concern. Some suggest a “lack of certainty” around “summer holidays” could spark trouble for regions heavily reliant on tourist traffic.
Andalucia’s tourism minister Juan Marin, said: “While the announcement of the Global Travel Taskforce’s framework for restart highlights a route out of the pandemic and back to international travel, we are still concerned at the lack of certainty surrounding summer holidays.”
It comes following Jet2’s decision to axe all flights and holidays until June 23.
This has been particularly worrying for Spain, with vast swathes of its UK visitors flying in via these routes.
Andalucia’s tourism minister Juan Marin, said: “We are saddened to hear that major airlines such as Jet2 have taken the difficult decision to postpone their operations given the lack of clarity around likely start dates or requirements.”
The region is home to a number of popular holiday resorts, including Marbella and Malaga.
In a bid to encourage the return of safe tourism, Andalucia has introduced its own special COVID-19 insurance for arrivals.
According to the region’s tourism website: “Andalusia provides all non-resident international travellers with free Covid insurance for stays at any type of regulated establishment in the region between 1 January and 31 December 2021.”
Mr Marin added: “The international travel insurance offers travellers up to €4,000 of cover on medical expenses, sanitary repatriation and extension of stay in the case of a COVID-19 infection, providing visitors with the confidence that they are safeguarded during their trip.
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“We continue to invest in resources to enable our tourism sector to restart operations safely and eagerly anticipate the return of British tourists.”
It is unclear, at the time of writing, whether or not Spain will be given a place on the UK’s “green list”.
UK travellers will be able to jet off to nations categorised as green without the need for self-isolation upon their return home.
According to Gov.uk: “Arrivals from green countries will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into England – but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests, halving the cost of tests on their return from holiday.”
The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce returned to meetings on April 12 to discuss the possibility of reopening travel safely.
Even if a nation is given “green” status, however, Britons will have to follow specific rules set out by their destination country too.
This could include testing or quarantine.
Concerns have also been raised over the impact nations changing colours could have on holidaymakers.
Steve Norris, managing director of Flight Centre said: “There is still more to be done to clear the mist still blanketing summer travel, specifically in perfecting the traffic light system ahead of 17 May.
“The green watchlist announced today is a step in the right direction for the alert system we desperately need, giving our overstretched industry prior warning before consumers dash to book the next green destination, but this needs to be developed further.
“For the system to be a genuine help, it should also provide warning when a country risks heading into amber or red, giving travellers peace of mind to book knowing they won’t be faced with an overnight scramble to return to the UK and allowing agents time to amend customer’s bookings.”
Further updates on the new system are anticipated in advance of May 17, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson predicts some foreign holidays can restart.
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