German tourists are snapping up flight tickets for the Spanish island of Mallorca after Germany’s disease control center took the holiday hotspot off its list of coronavirus risk areas.
Authorities said Friday they no longer consider the Balearic Islands a risk zone, meaning that test and trace requirements on return have been dropped (though, to board a plane to Spain, passengers will still need to provide a negative coronavirus test result).
In response, bookings for Mallorca — sometimes jokingly referred to as Germany’s 17th regional state, due to its popularity with German tourists — boomed over the weekend, according to airlines.
Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings said flights “sold out in no time.” It added an extra 300 flights for the Easter holiday season. Package operator TUI said twice as many trips to Mallorca were booked last weekend as during the same time two years ago.
The decision on Mallorca by the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s federal disease control and prevention agency, also applies to the Spanish regions of Castilla-La Mancha, Valencia, Extremadura, La Rioja and Murcia. It applies too to the Portuguese regions Alentejo, Centro, Norte, the Azores, the Danish region Nordjylland and the Bahamas.
But advocates for Germany’s domestic tourism sector were not thrilled by the news.
“To me, it would be difficult to imagine tourism being possible on Mallorca while hotels in the Black Forest still remain closed,” said Thomas Bareiß, the German government’s commissioner for tourism, according to Spiegel.
The government tried to persuade Germans that the decision on Mallorca shouldn’t be taken as an invitation to travel. “The general call is for everyone to refrain from every trip that’s not absolutely necessary,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday.
This article is part of POLITICO’s premium policy service: Pro Health Care. From drug pricing, EMA, vaccines, pharma and more, our specialized journalists keep you on top of the topics driving the health care policy agenda. Email [email protected] for a complimentary trial.