PCR tests at the airport become a political battleground in the Canary Islands

Ashotel hotel management stresses that they have been demanding this measure for “more than three months”.

Countries neighbouring Spain, such as France, Italy, Greece, Germany or the United Kingdom, are requiring travellers to have PCR test results in order to enter the country. Some have even set up diagnostic centres in the airports themselves – either free of charge, like the German ones, or paid, like the one recently announced for London/Heathrow airport – to test incoming travellers. Covid’s airport test centres have two objectives:

Photo: Medakit

To prevent the export and import of Covid-19 cases.

To allow travellers returning from areas considered to be at risk to be tested and, if negative, not to be required to maintain a mandatory quarantine (14 days).

Both reasons, and especially the second one, have a clear immediate impact:

  • It generates confidence in travellers
  • It assures the health authorities of the issuing countries that the virus will not be imported when the tourists return.

This confidence enables the flow of tourists to be kept active. It is precisely the implementation of this type of testing centres on arrival at the Canary Islands’ airports that is the demand made by the Hotel and Extra-Hotel Association of Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro (Ashotel), which has asked to appear before the Tourism, Industry and Trade Commission of the Canary Islands’ Parliament.

Specifically, from the hotel employers require the regional government to follow the example of Heathrow and implement in the main Canary Islands airports, with the arrival of international tourists, points of health testing to detect possible cases of Covid-19. They emphasize that they have been demanding this measure for “more than three months” and that it would be “a very important step to contribute to normalize to some extent the holidays” and “help the main sector of the Canarian economy” that generates 35% of the GDP.

“We need to break with that great obstacle which is the quarantine imposed by several countries and we propose that, if the Canarian Government does not bet or see the option of doing so in the airport facilities, they can be done in the hotel establishments”, explains the president of Ashotel, Jorge Marichal.

A political weapon

The truth is that even if this was not the intention of the hotel employers, the management of tourism during the Covid-19 crisis and, more specifically, the non-implementation of PCR tests on arrival at airports, could become a political weapon against the current Canary Islands Government.

Opposition groups, such as the Canary Islands Coalition, have asked for an extraordinary meeting of the Committee on Tourism, Industry and Trade for August – a month when there is no regular parliamentary activity. In their letter they also request that Jorge Marichal himself appear. This debate on tourism could trigger a political storm in the Canary Islands.

Author: Tourinews