The parliamentary spokesperson for opposition party Ciudadanos, Patricia Guasp, yesterday told the Bulletin that the time has come for the Balearic President, Francina Armengol, to stop playing the blame game with London over the delay in putting the Balearics on the travel green list.
Guasp, who challenged the president in parliament earlier this week over her failure to pay any proper attention to the British tourism market after having pandered so much to the Germans and for having no Plan B, yesterday stressed how important the British market is not only to Majorca, but all of the Balearic Islands.
“All we hear from Armengol is that we are not on the green list because of internal problems the UK has with the Indian variant. But, if she was to look at the British Embassy’s Twitter feed and website it clearly explains the reasons and the primary one is the slow vaccination roll out.
“My party, the Majorcan Hotel Federation and the Confederation of Balearic Business Associations have repeatedly told her and her government to get vaccinating, it’s the key to reopening the tourist industry properly and getting the British market back as quickly as possible.
“The weeks are passing us by and, as thing stands at the moment, the Balearics may not get on to the green list until the end of this month. That really does not give us a lot of time to turn things around.
“I know there is huge demand in the UK for holidays in the Balearics, but we’ve still got scores of hotels and even entire resorts closed because the Balearics is on amber.
“It’s not just about opening hotels, it’s the whole supply chain of bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, supermarkets etc., plus getting people back to work.
“I have friends who work in hotels which depend on the British market and they have been on furlough for over a year now. It’s not acceptable. But nothing is being done -and this goes to the very top, to the Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. In order to get the Balearics on the green list, never mind the rest of Spain where Covid case levels are much higher, Spain and the UK need to be involved in talks at the very highest level. We need maximum diplomacy, but Spain has yet to appoint an ambassador to the UK, we’ve got no one to fight our corner and the Balearics could be made to pay a high price for this breakdown in communications.
“The Balearic government needs to be much more proactive, promotional campaigns should be running across the UK otherwise the competition will beat the Balearics to the British market.
“The Balearic government needs to be sending out the right message. Instead of reverting to tarnishing British holiday makers with the same brush and focusing on Magalluf, which is far from open, again, we need to be sending out a clear message that the British are more than welcome.
“What we can’t afford to do is demonise them. Magalluf accounts for only a small section of the British market. Contrary to what Armengol and her government would have us believe, the Germans or the Dutch are not the biggest spenders in the Balearics, it is the British.
“If the vaccine rollout is proving to be the main stumbling block then get on to the Prime Minister and demand that more vaccines are delivered to the Balearics as soon as possible. Until we get the vaccination level up to anywhere near the UK, the British government has made it clear that neither the Balearics nor any other destination will be added to the green list. It’s all on the British government’s websites in black and white. Instead of trying to shift the emphasis on to the UK, Armengol should be doing everything within her powers to resolve her domestic problems and get the Balearics on the green list as soon as possible. We desperately need the British back and quickly.”