TOURISM

UK includes Balearics on its green travel list, but not the rest of Spain

British travelers returning home after a stay in the Mediterranean archipelago will no longer have to quarantine for 10 days as of June 30

Arenal Beach in Palma de Mallorca in August 2020.
Arenal Beach in Palma de Mallorca in August 2020.Enrique Calvo / Reuters

The Balearic Islands are being moved to the UK government’s green list of countries and territories, which are considered safe for travel. According to the government website, the Spanish archipelago “will move to the green watchlist at 4am, Wednesday June 30.”

This means that travelers will not have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in the UK, although they will still need to take a Covid-19 test on or before day two (and quarantine if the result is positive). A test is also required before travel.

The Balearics, which include the popular islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, have traditionally been an important destination for British tourists. In 2019, nearly four million of them spent time in the Mediterranean archipelago, mostly in Mallorca.

A ferry serving the island of Ibiza departing on June 3.
A ferry serving the island of Ibiza departing on June 3.FRANCISCO UBILLA

The regional government of the Balearics has applauded the move. Tourism chief Iago Negueruela said it will position the islands as “the leading tourist destination in the Mediterranean.” But he also asked for prudence, and said he would ask Spanish health authorities for “some kind of mechanism” to guarantee the safety of visitors from the UK.

The president of Mallorca’s hotel federation, María José Aguiló, called the move “very good news” for areas that rely on British tourism, and called on the sector to prepare for an influx of visitors starting next week.

The rest of Spain will remain on the amber list, where the UK government tells its citizens they should not travel. Passengers arriving from amber list countries must quarantine at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days, and additionally take a Covid-19 test on or before day two and on or after day eight. A test is also required before travel. The list gets reviewed every three weeks.

Although the UK government considered the possibility of leaving fully vaccinated people out of the quarantine rule, this step has not been taken yet. The World Travel and Tourism Council, an industry group, has written an open letter to the Boris Johnson administration warning that “the UK will lose a staggering £639 million (€740 million) a day during July if international travel remains off limits.”

Meanwhile, German chancellor Angela Merkel, backed by French President Emmanuel Macron, is leading an initiative to make EU countries introduce quarantines for UK travelers upon arrival, as is already the case for British passengers arriving in Germany.

This would be a complicated decision for countries like Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy, which rely more heavily on British tourism. Spain was one of the first European countries to announce that it would no longer require a PCR test from passengers arriving from Britain.

English version by Susana Urra.

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