Balearics amber status to curb ‘drunken tourism’ from Britons – hopes for ‘family trips’

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Spain’s Balearic Island destinations Ibiza and Majorca have long been known as party hotspots, with authorities in some regions desperately trying to encourage families rather than young people to visit. Though the region’s move to the amber list has come as a devastating blow to the region, some tourism chiefs have said it could spark the opportunity for more “family trips”.

Tourism leaders in Majorca and Ibiza say the UK Government’s decision to put the Balearics back on the amber travel list could produce a back-handed advantage for the islands.

The islands will go back onto the amber list as of July 19.

The change means that travellers who are not fully vaccinated will need to self-isolate for up to ten days if they return to the UK from the Balearics after 4am on Monday.

As the UK vaccine roll-out has prioritised older and high-risk people, meaning many younger travellers are unlikely to be fully vaccinated until the end of the summer.

Under 18s in the UK have still not been summoned for a nationwide inoculation programme.

As a result, travel for these age groups will come with more difficulties.

While it has been received as a blow to the Balearics, the region’s tourism minister Iago Negueruela said the islands were lucky to have even some kind of summer season.

He stressed fully vaccinated people will not have to be quarantined upon their return or those under 18 years of age.

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“More than 35 million British people can travel with a complete double vaccination schedule,” he said.

“Therefore, we will receive people who are fully vaccinated and from family trips.”

It is thought families will be likely to make a beeline for the popular holiday destinations, as well as older holidaymakers who have been double-jabbed.

“This is the type of tourism that we have always wanted and defended,” said Mr Negueruela.

Tourism chiefs have been working hard to change the image of party hotspots in Ibiza and Majorca in recent years, and want to encourage families rather than young people who might get into drunken fights or late-night antics.

They have already taken steps in the popular resorts of Magaluf and San Antonio to curb street drinking, pub crawls, drink offers and all-inclusive hotels.

Police patrols have been increased in Magaluf where there were already signs of trouble during the Euro 2020.

Currently, UK travellers visiting the Balearics must be able to show proof of being fully vaccinated or evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.

Mr Negueruela said: “We have opened before anyone else and we will keep open all the time thanks to vaccination.”

However, some tourism bosses in the region fear the new rule will see a steep decline in visitors.

Majorca’s hotel federation says the new rule will put thousands of British holidaymakers off and they anticipate a wave of cancellations and early returns from people trying to beat the deadline.

President of the Majorca Hotel Business Federation, María Frontera said the UK’s decision would have a negative impact on tourism.

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.

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