According to Canary Islands Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalaz Laya says that the regional quarantine measures being considered by the UK Government offers hope for the holiday hotspot. She pointed out that by no longer considering Spain as a whole, the Government may be able to allow Britons to return to the Canary Islands much sooner than expected.
“The important thing is that there is a window of opportunity that did not exist before because the UK previously considered Spain as a whole,” Gonzalez Laya said in an interview with RNE radio.
“It is important for the Canary archipelago which benefits from winter tourism.”
She added that the islands are set to pursue further negotiations with British ministers.
On Monday, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps announced the Government could now decide whether to impose quarantines from incoming travellers on specific islands rather than on whole countries.
If the Canary Islands figures are deemed low enough, and travel “safe” enough, it could mean that the current quarantine regulations are lifted for the specific area.
This would be welcome news to the Spanish archipelago which benefits from a winter tourism season, which the mainland does not.
The Canary Islands are one of the few parts of the country warm enough for beach holidays in the winter.
With Britain’s one of Spanish tourisms main draws, allowing holidays could help save the currently flailing sector.
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According to Reuters, the number of foreign tourists visiting Spain fell 75 percent in July alone compared with 2019.
As a result, this has hit employment hard, with one in eight Spanish jobs being in the tourism sector.
Canary Island ministers are also vowing to help cover the cost of coronavirus tests for arrivals to some of its main hotspots such as Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria.
Tourism leaders have said they are reportedly “fed up” waiting for the Spanish government to take charge and will go it alone so that the winter season set to commence in October.
Ministers say they are prepared to pay for the tests, as are individual councils throughout the islands.
Canary Islands’ Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Yaiza Castilla said the islands were in the unique position to be “the only winter sun destination with capacity and with reliable sanitary standards for Europeans.”
Ms Castilla said the number one priority was to reduce the number of coronavirus outbreaks and infections across all of the Canary Islands.
She said: “There is an urgent need to reverse the situation of the incidence of the pandemic between now and October to guarantee that the issuing countries lift their warnings on trips to the islands and the quarantine requirements upon return and to take advantage of the historic opportunity presented to the Canary Islands to be the only winter sun destination with capacity and with reliable sanitary standards for Europeans.”
As of September 8 2020, there are 6,180 active cases of COVID-19 across Gran Canaria according to local data collection from The Canary News.
Of these over 3,500 are recorded in Gran Canaria.
Meanwhile, there are 642 active cases in Tenerife.
There have been 179 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic.
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