The Balearics is a safe tourism destination, Spain’s tourism chief in the UK has insisted, after the UK government confirmed on Wednesday (14 July) it would reclassify the islands amber.
Javier Pinanes, director of the Spanish Tourist Office in the UK, said the organisation respected the government’s decision, while insisting British visitors remain welcome in the Balearics.
The Balearics will be added to the amber list from 4am on Monday (19 July). From Monday, fully vaccinated amber list arrivals will no longer have to self-isolate upon their return.
However, unvaccinated amber list arrivals will still have to self-isolate for 10 days and submit to tests on days two and eight of their return, as well as take a pre-departure test.
In a statement, the Department for Transport said its decision to recategorise the Balearics owed to a "sharp rise" in cases. "Since the last traffic light review, the case rate has more than doubled in the Balearics," said the DfT.
Pinanes, citing data from Spain’s ministry of health published on Tuesday (13 July), said just under 4% of hospital beds in the Balearics were occupied by Covid patients.
He stressed the majority of new cases were among younger age groups, notably those aged 12 to 19 and 20 to 29, and that despite an increase in rates of Covid infection, hospitals in the Balearics were not under pressure.
"Likewise, there have been no fatalities reported due to Covid-19 in the Balearic Islands in the past seven days and there are strict safety and hygiene processes and measures in place," said Pinanes.
"The Balearic Islands continue to be a safe tourism destination that strictly adhere to safety protocols that have been established by the authorities. British visitors remain welcome in the Balearic Islands and Spain."
Iago Negueruela, minister of tourism for the Balearic Islands, echoed Pinanes’ comments and confidence. "Our tourism sector has already welcomed many British tourists back to the islands over the past few weeks and the Balearic Islands remain open," said Negueruela.
"Travel is different this summer and we would like to continue encouraging visitors to travel responsibly, follow the local rules and take all the necessary steps to have a safe holiday."
Negueruela reiterated the recent rise in Covid infections was largely among younger people, the "vast majority" of whom were not suffering "harmful symptoms". "Many measures and protocols are in place to ensure our visitors can have a safe and enjoyable holiday," he added.
"We are pleased that from Monday, fully vaccinated Britons, which represents almost 35 million people, will be able to travel to the islands without the need to quarantine on their return. We continue to welcome our British visitors.”