Antigen testing

Will rapid tests be in place in time for half-term?

10-10-2021Marcelo Sastre

With the director general of the IATA International Air Transport Association, Willie Walsh, saying that chaos caused by travel regulations was "a disaster", the UK government managed to create even further confusion, despite having trimmed its red list to a mere seven countries. This was due a) to there being no certainty that day-two PCR tests will be scrapped in time for the half-term holidays and b) to the suggestion that travellers taking the alternative lateral flow tests should submit to video scrutiny. Transport secretary Grant Shapps was said to be against any idea for video calls. And quite rightly, too. Daft it was.

Closing as usual

Late-season tourism in Mallorca was thus faced with the risk of further UK nonsense as it struggled to make it to the end of October let alone into November. Spain's tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, was boldly asserting that the Balearics would be lengthening the season (by which she meant no later than the normal October), and the island's hotels - at least 70% of them - were forecast to be closed by the end of the month. Again, this was a perfectly normal scenario on account of the fact that there isn't the demand, regardless of Balearic government desires for an extension of the season.

Cycling tourists ... also as usual

Looking ahead to next year, the hyperbole was being wheeled out in predicting a boom for sports tourism. Hotel chains, we were informed, were planning on opening from the first week of February to welcome cyclists, hikers and other sport-minded visitors. Boom? Well, no. This is how it was before the pandemic, there having been just the one February (this year's) when hotels weren't opening.

Circular listening

The great and good of the tourism industry had gathered at the Palacio de Congresos in Palma ostensibly to hear about the circular economy. But the great and the good took the opportunity to, among other things, call for a reduction in the tourist tax, a subject not directly relevant to Reyes Maroto, whose idea it had apparently been to hold a conference about the circular economy. The minister, it was reported, "listened attentively" to contributions from the likes of Meliá's Gabriel Escarrer. It was good to know that she was and wasn't playing Fortnite on her phone.

Inspecting the clubs

Clubs and discos were preparing for Friday's grand reopening. Not that this was so grand, given the limited number of clubs which had decided to avail themselves of the opportunity or were ready to open. The government's announcement had been somewhat short notice. For many clubs, though, there wasn't much point opening; the tourism season is coming to an end.

The reopening basically meant Palma. This concentration plus the number of open clubs would have been welcomed by government inspectors, the minister for public function, Mercedes Garrido, having announced in parliament that inspections would be to the fore among "control measures" for clubs. The inspectors' tasks, such as checking that masks were being worn on dance floors and were covering nose as well as mouth, were therefore made easier by the scarcity of open clubs.

Miss tourism

In the spirit of extending the season - as far as its normal October conclusion - Miss Tourism World Spain 2021 was being held in Portopetro. Curiously enough, as there were representatives from the various regions, there were 21 contestants, four more than the number of regions or two more if Ceuta and Melilla are included.

Many had forgotten that this annual event was still taking place. Alcudia, which used to stage it, had concluded that it was not appropriate.

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