The Balearic government will meet the cost of performing rapid tests on tourists - foreign and Spanish - arriving in the Balearics next season.
This was announced at a Thursday meeting with hotelier representatives to discuss strategy for 2021. The tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, said afterwards that the government has been pressing for there to be a common European policy with regard to tests at point of origin and that travellers to the Balearics will be advised to have a test in advance and present a negative result. But if they don't, the government will pay in order to "guarantee that tests are carried out".
The minister pointed out that tests at ports and airports would have to be agreed with the Spanish government and the airports authority, Aena. At present, there isn't authorisation for tests, but for the Balearic government and hoteliers, tests are an important element for reactivating tourism, starting at Easter next year. "March has to be the month we open," Negueruela emphasised, and so in time for Holy Week.
He added that there will be further discussion with hoteliers in order to define what diagnostic tests should be performed and other measures to improve control of entry at ports and airports.
The president of the Majorca Hoteliers Federation, Maria Frontera, stressed the need for the regional government to have some control of ports and airports and so be able to adopt a measure such as testing. "We need everyone's help in demanding this."
Frontera also stated that businesspeople need "much more certainty" ahead of the 2021 tourism season. She referred to guarantees for extending the ERTE furlough scheme beyond the end of January. Negueruela trusted that the Spanish government and business and union representatives will come to agreement on an extension and also on special benefits for employees with 'fijo discontinuo' contracts.