Balearic Islands Calls for Furlough Extension

The Balearic Islands Government calls for furlough extension in archipelago and announces tourism think tank to help kick-start economy

The Balearic Islands Ministry of Tourism, together with the archipelago’s tourism promotional organisation (AETIB), and Palma’s Alliance for Excellency in Tourism (Exceltur) have come together to discuss and debate future strategies for the recovery of the sector. Under the title “Future strategies for the recovery of the Spanish tourism sector”, the speakers discussed the current scenario drawing on the perspectives of the islands’ main tourism businesses.

The Minister of Tourism, Iago Negueruela, called for an extension of the furlough scheme in the archipelago stating that the Balearic Islands are entering a “complicated period of hardship”. He added that the public and private sector, as well as trade unions “must remain firm and united” to move out of this crisis and emphasised the necessity to reposition the islands as a safe tourism destination through initiatives such as the Pilot Plan; a test project launched in June to bring visitors back to the Balearic Islands in a controlled and safe way.

Negueruela also announced the creation of a new think tank, bringing together the public and private sector; including businesses and trade unions to discuss and debate initiatives to allow the tourism sector to restart its activities as soon as possible emphasising how the 2021 season will be “absolutely vital” for the local economy.

Similarly, the Minister of Transport, Marc Pons, emphasised the development of sustainable transport solutions in the Balearic Islands as a fundamental part of the recovery strategy for the tourism sector requiring an investment of €478 million over the next ten years. This includes new road transport services in Mallorca and a renovated fleet of environmentally friendly buses, as well as improved timetables with better frequencies, which should be operational from January 2021. Other initiatives aimed at improving Mallorca’s tourism proposition include improved rail connections; with direct connections from the airport in Palma to some of the main tourism areas on the island.

The meeting was attended by the main business figures in the tourism sector and served to discuss future strategies for the recovery of the sector at a time marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, Negueruela has welcomed the decision of the UK Government to introduce a more targeted approach to travel corridors by separating some islands from mainland countries. He stated that he is confident than the economic recovery will be accelerated with the arrival of British visitors and outlined that the government is negotiating the reopening of safe travel corridors for tourists without the need for quarantine on return.