Sun-hungry Britons flock to Mallorca in Spain after restrictions eased
PALMA, Spain, June 30 (Reuters) – Beach-hungry British tourists flocked to the Spanish island of Mallorca on Wednesday after London added the Balearic archipelago to its “green travel list”, boosting hopes of a better tourist season after a catastrophic 2020.
Tourists exiting Palma de Mallorca airport expressed their relief and gratitude to be back in the sun, with some saying they were lucky they bought tickets early as prices skyrocketed last week.
Britain’s lifting of restrictions means holidaymakers won’t have to self-quarantine for 10 days upon returning from the islands, as they still have to do with the rest of Spain and most other countries.
The quarantine rule had frightened many, but not all.
“I booked two weeks ago and was ready to quarantine for 10 days. We were very lucky,” said Georgia Dover, 20.
A spokesperson for Spain’s Melia hotel chain (MEL.MC) said that within 24 hours of the islands being greenlisted by Britain, bookings reached the registered equivalent for 10 days before the 2019 pandemic.
Stressing the importance of the UK market for the main Spanish destinations, the authorities in the Canary Islands, which are not on the green list, recently reduced their forecasts of annual tourist arrivals to 5 million from 8 million.
Infection concerns have come back to the fore as Spain turns 14 days old the infection rate has increased over the past week to 117 per 100,000 people – its highest level since early June – due to cases among adolescents and young adults who have not been vaccinated.
Authorities in Mallorca are investigating an outbreak among some 600 Spanish students celebrating the end of the term. Read more
A judge ruled on Wednesday that most of the group, who have been in forced quarantine on the island since the weekend, could be released after testing negative, while 68 people who tested positive must remain in isolation.
Rising cases in Britain urged Spain on Monday to demand a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination from British tourists – the same requirements as for travelers from the European Union – after letting them enter freely for a month. Read more
The government predicts tourist arrivals will reach 45% of their pre-pandemic levels this summer and around 54% this year. This is a marked improvement from 10% in April.
Data from airport operator Aena (AENA.MC) showed that bookings for flights to the Balearic Islands over the next 12 months reached 80% of their normal levels, compared to just 46% overall. Spain.
Reporting by Marco Trujillo; Additional reporting by Belen Carreno, Emma Pinedo, Andrei Khalip, Inti Landauro; Editing by Nathan Allen, Lisa Shumaker and Alison Williams
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