The Canary Islands will demand safety guarantees from its key source markets if it is to reopen to tourists this summer.
Minister of tourism Yaiza Castilla said reactivating air routes would only be possible by agreeing "safe corridors" with other countries.
The archipelago has entered the second phase of its Covid-19 de-escalation plan, which has seen more lockdown measures lifted in Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and La Palma.
Some beaches reopened to sunbathers on Monday (25 May), while shopping centres and cultural spaces have been able to reopen with some additional limitations, as have bars and restaurants.
The Canaries’ major airports – Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura – are meanwhile ready to receive international flights, with the first "safe corridors" expected to be agreed by July.
"This is one of the best announcements since the reactivation of the entire sector, which requires the recovery of the air connectivity," said Castillo. "We depend on the airlines to reactivate their routes with our islands, and that will be only possible if we are part of a ’safe corridor’ that will allow us to connect with our main tourist markets."
Castilla’s confidence comes after Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed international tourism would be able to resume in July, with the country ready to lift its two-week quarantine on arrival requirement on 1 July.
Spain’s foreign minister, Arancha Gonzalaz Laya, previously intimated that the country’s islands would potentially reopen to tourism before some of its mainland tourism hotspots owing to its lower rate of coronavirus infection.
The Canaries has put itself forward to trial various Global Tourism Safety Lab initiatives to protect visitors, encourage social distancing, and ensure new health and safety measures work for tourists and residents.
Project manager Cristina del Rio Fresen said these measures would apply to every stage of the tourism journey from the airport taxi or shuttle to hotels, beaches and restaurants. However, she added the destination "would need the same guarantees at source markets".
The Canaries is working with the UN World Tourism Organisation to operate in July the world’s first "safe flight" using "digital health passports" developed by Canarian company Hi+Card.