Palma de Mallorca
The German tour operator FTI plans to start selling holiday packages to Majorca starting next May 14, with the aim that from the end of June, German tourists will fly back to the island, which at first would essentially be families. Previously, on May 13, the European Commission will have already established the necessary sanitary conditions for be able to resume air operations In the continent. The news has been advanced this Thursday by "Hosteltur" and confirmed by ABC.
The said tour operator's announcement came just two days after the German Federal Tourism Commissioner, Thomas Bareiß, had explained to the German newspaper "Der Tagesspiegel" that if the coronavirus outbreak continues to be kept under control, as has happened in these past few weeks the Germans could consider going on vacation abroad this summer, also including the option of the Balearic Islands as a possible destination.
At the same time, the president of the Balearic Government, the socialist Francina Armengol, stated last Tuesday that she works bilaterally with countries essential for island tourism, such as Germany, to "recover, as soon as possible, the activity and connection routes" . In this context, one of the questions that will have to be clarified in the coming weeks will be how long the current restrictions on mobility and the closure of borders established by the central government will be in force. The first forecasts indicated that these restrictions could be maintained until the autumn, although they could end perhaps earlier if the health situation continues in the current line of improvement.
The two main tourist markets that each year choose the Balearic Islands as a destination to spend their holidays are the UK and Germany. To this we must add that in recent decades the number of German citizens who have acquired properties in Mallorca and who consider the Balearic island as their "second home" has been increasing.
As explained to «Hosteltur» the head of the FTI Group for Spain and the Caribbean, Manuel Morales, initially they only planned to start sales to countries little affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as Greece, Portugal, Turkey, Egypt, Cyprus and Morocco. At first, Spain was not part of their plans, "due to the image of a very affected country." However, as already indicated, in recent days the idea of Mallorca as a "safe destination" has been gaining strength. Morales hopes that the different tour operators join forces, in order to «maximize the profitability of air connections that must undergo new hygienic-sanitary conditions and with aircraft that will surely have fewer seats than usual».
The possibility that German citizens can spend their summer holidays in the interior of Germany or in neighboring countries will depend on the continuation of the current sustained decrease in coronavirus infections. "I hope that, given the current good numbers, we can relax the restrictions in the next four to eight weeks," the German Federal Tourism Commissioner for Tourism said two days ago. Among the countries that could be visited this summer by Bareiß's compatriots would be Austria, France, Poland, Belgium or the Netherlands. "But I still wouldn't rule out other regions of Europe, like the Balearic Islands or the islands of Greece, "added the aforementioned high office. In this context, Germany is already in talks with several states to try to reach an agreement on tourism.
Along these same positive lines, although cautiously, the Balearic president stressed last Tuesday in the regional Parliament the importance of guaranteeing that the Balearic Islands are "prepared to receive safely those who want to visit us, once the restrictions on mobility in force in almost all European countries allow it ». For Armengol, this objective requires "to establish control measures at the origin of the state of health of the passengers" and needs "Plans to boost the activity of airlines and shipping companies". The objective is to recover the activity and connection routes "taking full advantage of the advances in health security and in the control of the pandemic that will occur in the coming weeks."
Another assessment made this week was that of the CEO of the TUI tour operator, Fritz Joussen, who last Monday asked the governments of the European Union to urgently develop a «Road map for traveling», to ensure as soon as possible that European citizens can go on vacation. According to "Preferente", Joussen "cited destinations such as Greece, Cyprus, Portugal and the Balearic Islands as possibilities for future trips."