Alarm bells are ringing in the Balearic Islands after the cancellation of Jet 2 flights from Britain and an increase in infections in Germany.
Jet2’s decision to delay the flights until June 24, is a massive blow for those in the Tourism Sector, particularly hotels and transport.
Government spokesperson and Tourism Minister, Iago Negueruela, said he’s very concerned about the Jet2 announcement but pointed out that other groups, such as TUI will be operating flights.
"We understand that the Balearic Business Sector is concerned about the impact of the delay in the arrival of flights to the Balearic Islands from the United Kingdom,” he said. “The Government considers it a business decision.”
Minister Negueruela also commented on the new UK ‘Traffic Light’ system, which splits countries into three sections: Red risk areas, Amber intermediate areas and Green safer areas.
“It must be ratified by the European Union,” insists Minister Negueruela. “We want London to catalogue by region, not by country. The Government and the entire private sector are struggling to reach the summer with minimum levels of contagion that allow for a season.”
The British Government has also announced that all travellers returning to the UK after mid-May will have to submit a mandatory negative PCR test and quarantine for 10 days if they’ve been in a risk zone.
The Hotel Business Federation of Mallorca, or FEHM, the Balearic employer CAEB and the Transport company FEBT insist that there is a desperate need to speed up vaccination in order to convey a safe destination message in emitting markets and say they fear that the start of the season will be delayed more and more.
“The information from London was very necessary because it allows for planning,” said FEHM President, Maria Frontera. “It is vital to continue to insist on tourist corridors because they are a practical and useful model between territories with similar health indices."
“The Balearic Islands must be at the forefront of the reopening of tourism in Spain and guarantee the health of its citizens and tourists,” stressed CAEB President, Carmen Planas. “The vaccination plan is crucial to be able to convey a clear and resounding security message in European emitting markets, to make sure tourists choose the Islands as their holiday destination and accelerating the vaccination process is essential.”
Planas demanded "preferential treatment from the Central Government because we are the Autonomous Community most affected by this crisis and Balearic GDP is double the national average.” She also advocated the vaccination passport "to prevent a new tourist contraction."
"Without an effective vaccination plan we will not have a season and that would be a drama for business owners and the Balearics,” said FEBT President, Rafael Roig.
Jet2 CEO, Steve Heapy has criticised the Foreign Office's vagueness over the revival of tourism in the United Kingdom.
“We are trying to run a business so that we can take customers away, but we need the Government to provide us with clarity to achieve this,” said Heapy. “The current lack of judgment prevents us from resuming flights on May 17, hence our postponement to June.”