President Armengol and Reyes Maroto at the airport on Thursday. | Govern de les Illes Balears


On Thursday, President Armengol and Spain's tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, emphasised that the Balearic Islands are a safe tourist destination, despite the high number of positive cases among Spanish students who have been on trips to Mallorca.

Maroto was at Palma's Son Sant Joan Airport for a presentation to mark the official launch of the EU's Digital COVID Certificate. The minister described the Balearic government's management of "certain incidents" as "exemplary". These incidents have been "controlled", she noted.

Armengol said that the Balearics "continue to be a totally safe destination, the safest in the Mediterranean". She stressed that the government has always acted on the principle that "public health comes above all". The quarantining of students at the 'Covid hotel' in Palma was in line with what has been happening with Covid close contacts for the past fifteen months.

The president thanked the collaboration of students who the government "was obliged (by court order) to release" and who waited until Thursday morning to take the ferry to Valencia. She also expressed her appreciation for young people in the Balearics who are acting responsibly to prevent Covid - 17,000 between the ages of 16 and 29 have so far been vaccinated.

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The islands, Armengol added, are the first region in Spain to start vaccinating this age group and also the only region where travellers considered to be close contacts of infected people quarantine in a hotel for which the government pays.

Regarding the court decision ordering the government to allow students who are not positive to leave the Covid hotel, Maroto recalled that at the beginning of the pandemic all guests in a hotel in the Canaries were quarantined without there having been any conflict. The minister praised the work of the regional government in "preserving the health" of residents and visitors. Like Armengol, she disagreed with the court's decision, as it may put young people and their families at risk.

Armengol explained that the government's attorney is preparing an appeal against the decision, adding that three more positive cases detected among the students before they left highlighted the need for the students to have been in quarantine.

As to whether the increase in cases among the young population may harm tourism, Armengol observed that this doesn't entail a worrying increase in pressure on the health service, as the most vulnerable in the population have been vaccinated. "We continue to have a very good health situation" and a high rate of vaccination, which are factors taken into account by foreign governments.