Tourism leaders in Spain’s Balearic Islands have stressed British holidaymakers will be “essential” for the economic recovery of their destinations post-Covid.
During a joint briefing at WTM Virtual on Monday (9 November), representatives from Menorca, Ibiza, Majorca and Formentera gathered alongside the Balearic Islands minister of tourism to call for “access to be restored” between the destinations and the UK.
Minister of tourism Iago Negueruela told WTM attendees that in 2019 the Balearics were the second most visited region in Spain for British travellers with tourism accounting for 35% of GDP.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have focused our efforts on safety, as well as seeking agreements for regulated international tourist transit under a special health regime, to resume the flow of tourists between the United Kingdom and the Balearic Islands,” Negueruela said.
During his address he stressed the importance of bringing together the public and private sector - including businesses and trade unions – to debate ideas to allow the tourism sector to restart its activities as soon as possible, emphasising how the 2021 season will be “absolutely vital” for the local economy.
“The pandemic has not halted one of our biggest objectives; we will continue developing a tourism proposition that goes beyond the traditional sun and beach product through the defined Strategic Tourism Segments (SET) to illustrate the range of activities that visitors can enjoy when visiting our islands.”
Each island also laid out its individual priorities for tourism recovery in 2021.
Menorca’s president and minister of tourism for Menorca, Susana Mora, said it would focus on eco-tourism, having been recognised by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve.
Ibiza emphasised that the private and public sectors are working together “intensively” to restart tourism and welcome British visitors “in the safest possible way”.
Ibiza Tourist Board director Juan Miguel Costa said the island would continue to tackle the stigma surrounding its nightlife and continue to invite holidaymakers to discover the “real Ibiza” in a post-Covid era.
Formentera’s tourist board manager Carlos Bernus said it was one of Europe’s areas “least affected by Covid-19” making it “one of the safest destinations to visit”.
Majorca’s minister of tourism Andreu Serra, explained that the current scenario has provided an opportunity to reflect on tourism strategy.
Serra said he hoped that the Covid health and safety protocols already put in place, coupled with the island’s “robust health system” and newly created infrastructure, would see it positioned to deal with “any eventuality related to the pandemic” and contribute to restarting tourism activity.