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MALLORCA

‘Not an invitation to go there’: Germany urges against Mallorca holiday following lifting of travel warning

Germany's foreign minister on Wednesday urged his countrymen to think twice about rushing to Mallorca over the Easter holidays after the sun-soaked Spanish island was taken off the coronavirus risk list.

'Not an invitation to go there': Germany urges against Mallorca holiday following lifting of travel warning
A German woman with a suitcase strolls through Mallorca on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

The lifting of Berlin’s travel warning for the Balearic island has sparked a flurry of bookings from shutdown-weary Germans in recent days, with airlines laying on hundreds of extra flights to meet the surge in demand.

But Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the delisting of Mallorca was “not an invitation to go there”, especially considering Germany’s recent uptick in coronavirus cases, which has sparked warnings of a third wave.

“We have an increased incidence rate in Germany, and everyone is still called upon to do their part,” Maas told reporters in Berlin, with Easter school holidays due to begin in most German states from next weekend.

“Travel is one those things that leads to more contacts, and that’s why this is a decision that everyone has to make for themselves. But I hope citizens handle this responsibly.”

READ ALSO: ‘Germans are coming back’: Spaniards sceptical over return of tourists

Mallorca is one of the most popular holiday destinations among Germans, and is sometimes jokingly referred to as Germany’s 17th state.

Tourism giant TUI has said that it has received more bookings for Mallorca in recent days than in the same period in 2019, and would be doubling the number of its flights plying the route to the island to 300.

Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings on Wednesday said the extra 300 Easter holiday flights it had offered at the weekend were already sold out, and that it had added another 50 flights.

Other airlines including Lufthansa, Condor and Ryanair have also said they are increasing the number of flights.

READ ALSO: Spain braces for German Easter influx as flights boom

The updated travel advice means Germans no longer have to quarantine when they return home from Mallorca, or undergo mandatory testing.

Calls are growing however for returning travellers to be tested anyway, a suggestion Maas said “would be in everyone’s interest”.

Tourists arriving on the Spanish island must show a negative coronavirus test that is less than 72 hours old.

READ ALSO: Germany set to lift travel warning for parts of Spain and Portugal

Member comments

  1. Sadly, as the most visited destination for German tourism in the World, it is by default an invitation to go there. And will be treated as such up until the same nonsense as last year causes the Island to close everything down again and Germans to retest upon entry. Feeding the flames of Covid problems in other countries is how I would term it.

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TOURISM

‘We’re not the Ibiza of the north’: Spain’s Cantabria says no to mass tourism

Thousands of people in the Spanish region of Cantabria have protested against a planned hotel resort being promoted as “the Ibiza of the north”, showcasing northern Spain's fears of the negative consequences of mass tourism.

'We're not the Ibiza of the north': Spain's Cantabria says no to mass tourism

Between 3,000 and 8,000 protesters marched between the Cantabrian towns of Loredo and Langre on Saturday to voice their opposition to a huge hotel complex planned nearby on the Cantabrian coastline, in Ribamontán al Mar, about 30 kilometres from the capital Santander.

Local authorities argue 3,000 people took part in the demo, while organisers say it was 8,000. 

They carried banners such as “Cantabria defends itself”, “no to the huge resort” and “we don’t want to be the Ibiza of the north”, in reference to the marketing slogan the hotel’s developers have reportedly used to promote it. 

“Cantabrian society has taken sides in the public debate on overtourism, positioning itself against turning Cantabria into ‘the Ibiza of the north’,” protest organisers stated.

Hotel group AB Capital, headquartered in Mallorca, aims to replicate the huge resorts found in the Balearics and Spain’s Mediterranean coast in the cooler (but increasingly warmer) northern Cantabrian coastline.

According to local daily El Diario Montañés they’ve already expressed interest in buying a huge plot of land in Ribamontán al Mar, which is between Loredo and Langre. 

In fact, Ribamontán al Mar’s mayor told the newspaper that at least three other developers are eyeing the same 7450,000 sqm plot with the aim of turning it into a resort, as half of the land is buildable.

There has even been talk of turning it into a huge golf course and resort with 350 rooms.

For local political group Cantabristas, the protest showed that the community has taken “a step forward to defend itself against those who want to destroy” the territory to “fill their pockets”.

“What good is urban speculation and tourist overcrowding if we Cantabrians have problems accessing housing, suffer the consequences of this overcrowding and if tourism only offers precarious employment?” Cantabristas secretary general Paulu Lobete told the crowd.

Cantabristas is planning to organise further protests if the project isn’t called off, and urged other people in the region to take part due to the property price speculation it could cause throughout the territory.

The case of the potential mega-resort in Ribamontán al Mar showcases the concerns many people in Spain’s northern coastal regions – Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country – have when they see the consequences mass tourism has brought to the country’s warmer less rainy coastal areas.

Northern Spain is becoming increasingly popular among national tourists in particular as the extreme heat much of the rest of the country suffers during the summer becomes increasingly unbearable every year, pushing many to the cooler, calmer and greener haven that is el norte.

A rise in tourists has already resulted in a spike in holiday apartments and prices overall in Spain’s northern regions.

The protest in Cantabria is the first clear example of rejection of the mass tourism model in the less developed and populated areas of Spain.

The Canary Islands held mass protests against their tourism model in April, and locals in Málaga, Mallorca and Ibiza have planned demonstrations for similar reasons in May and June.

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