“On 1 July the Canary Islands will open its borders, flights will commence from Dublin, the current 14-day quarantine period for arrivals will be lifted, and there is already free movement between the islands,” Cristina Del Río Fresen, Leader of the Global Tourism Safety Lab, Ministry of Tourism, Canary Islands, told ITTN’s Neil Steedman in a Zoom interview.
“Some hotels will be open at 50% capacity during July and August, with two-metre social distancing a requirement, and I expect that all hotels will be open by October. There will be an increase in demand for rental properties, which are now open and subject to extra cleaning protocols. There may be some price increases because there have been increases in costs and more employees may be required.
“It has been a depressing year to date, but as the tourism business returns everyone involved needs to co-operate – tour operators, MICE, airports, airlines, hotels and accommodations, beaches, golf courses, visitor attractions, commerce, and infrastructure.
“Our priority is for the islands to be a safe haven and a holiday experience for tourists and residents. We are working at every step of the tourism journey – pre- and post-departure.
“For example, we are recommending that visitors get themselves a PCR (polymerise chain reaction) test for antigens 48 or 72 hours before they fly to the Canary Islands, but that is not mandatory. There will be temperature tests at the airport on arrival, free of charge, and anyone showing up as being unwell will, along with any family members, be taken to a designated bungalow or apartment for isolation.
“Face masks will only be mandatory where the two-metre social distancing rule cannot be implemented. Use of gloves is not recommended because they give a false sense of protection.
“Hotels have many new protocols, including assisted buffets with protection screens and individually plated and covered single portions, also with protection screen. Regularly used items such as salt cellars, sugar casters, oil containers, beverage dispensers, etc, have to be replaced regularly. Predefined itineraries are recommended to avoid crowds in zones, along with longer opening hours at restaurants, and more use of terrace space. Room service personnel will wear masks whenever it is not possible to maintain a safe distance from the clients.
“Beaches will have two-metre social distancing, while very small beaches will also have controlled access. Walking trails are already open and we plan to re-schedule walking festivals to 22-25 October.
“We recommend use of a Digital Health Passport, but that is not mandatory, it is a tool to help people to have all their medical information in one place.
“Finally, we will be bringing trade and media from Madrid for a two-to-three-day visit to all islands from 1-15 July and also similar validation flights from Ireland and the UK later that month.”