If you didn’t want broth, have two cups. This could be summed up the last turn of the British Government regarding tourism in Spain. Boris Johnson’s Cabinet redoubled its veto late Monday and extended its recommendation not to visit the country to the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, while also maintaining quarantine for anyone arriving in the United Kingdom from Spanish territory. A decision against which the central government, the European Commission, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) or the employers of airlines IATA have made common.
The spokesperson for Health of the Community Executive, Stefan De Keersmaecker, defended yesterday that, although the decision to impose quarantines on travellers from other European regions corresponds exclusively to the national authorities, these measures should be adopted “without discriminating against certain areas in relation to others with a similar epidemiological situation”, alluding to the controversy aroused between the United Kingdom and Spain.
“We would like the same quarantine or approach to be followed with regions that are in the same situation so as not to create discrimination between different areas,” insisted the European spokesperson, who recalled that the “best way” to fight against COVID infections is tests, early detection, contact tracing and coordination between countries”.
Pedro Sanchez describes the decision as “misadjusted” and affirms that the Government will continue negotiating
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili also pressured the United Kingdom through a statement warning against “unilateral” measures by “some governments”. Countries “have a duty to put the well-being of their citizens first, but, at the same time, they also have a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of those citizens and to protect businesses,” he said. “Unilateral measures can create confusion and bring unnecessary consequences,” insisted the UNWTO leader, while defining the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands as two “prepared and safe” tourist destinations.
The Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, described the UK decision as “misadjusted” and announced that they will continue negotiating to try to revoke it. “The decisions of the United Kingdom are being misaligned, many Spanish territories have a cumulative incidence of contagion even lower than the European average, and also that of the United Kingdom,” he said in an interview with Telecinco.
The British Executive did not give its arm to twist, dealing another hard blow to the Spanish tourism industry
However, the British Executive did not give his arm to twist, dealing another hard blow to the Spanish tourism industry. The weekend had excluded the Spanish archipelagos from the order that advised against their citizens not to move to the Peninsula, but now the islands are also on their blacklist. The country considers Spain a “risky” destination due to the proliferation of COVID sprouts. “This advice is based on the evidence on the increase in cases of Covid-19 in many regions, but particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia, which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona,” justified the British Foreign Ministry.
The negotiation opened 48 hours before by Spanish diplomacy had no effect. For two days the Government of Pedro Sanchez, and especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had tried to make the British change his mind using the epidemiological data of Spain. Public health experts had held a meeting with British authorities to explain that the country’s global situation “is safe” and that the outbreaks are limited to certain areas, and certainly not to the islands. This was explained by the head of Foreign Affairs, Arancha Gonzalez Laya, from Turkey.
The Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, hoped yesterday that the United Kingdom will revoke the mandatory quarantine for travellers from the Balearic and Canary Islands as soon as possible. The minister pointed out that the diplomatic efforts being carried out by the Spanish Government are currently focused on achieving the exclusion from quarantine for the two archipelagos, but they did not rule out that other communities could join the launch of other safe corridors with the United Kingdom. Andalusia and the Valencian Community have already requested it.
Even so, the Government of Boris Johnson closed the door yesterday to activate these tourist corridors for which Spain fights to save what it can of the summer season. The hoteliers’ confederation has even offered to pay for a coronavirus test to tourists when they return to their home country. And it is that the blow to the largest Spanish industry in economic weight is expected to be huge. Cancellations only grow and there are hardly any reservations. Spain is gambling this summer up to 8,700 million euros, the expense that each year the main tourist issuing markets make and which will now be impossible to collect.