After the sudden increase in holiday bookings for the holiday island of Mallorca, the Mainz virologist Bodo Plachter warned to be cautious: “If the travel activity increases, then the incidence rates will also increase. That is relatively clear, “he told the German press agency. “On vacation you want to relax, you want to forget about Corona.” This leads to a decrease in caution and an increase in infection rates. That was also the case last summer.
Jürgen Schmude, Professor of Tourism Economics at the University of Munich, is similarly concerned: “Basically, this onslaught is a catastrophe,” he told the editorial network in Germany. We have already seen what can happen at major travel events – keyword Ischgl. “We now run the risk of producing a second Ischgl with Mallorca.” He wouldn’t be surprised if the island had to go into a tough lockdown again in three weeks.
“The absence of a travel warning is not an invitation to travel.”
The federal government had previously called for a general refusal to travel to tourism due to the corona pandemic. “The appeal is to forego any travel that is not absolutely necessary,” said government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday in Berlin. The spokeswoman for the Federal Foreign Office, Maria Adebahr, said: “The absence of a travel warning is not an invitation to travel.” But everyone has to make the decision for themselves.
The federal government decided on Friday to remove Mallorca and other regions in Spain, Portugal and Denmark from the list of corona risk areas and thus also to lift the travel warning from the Federal Foreign Office. This means that since Sunday it has been possible to vacation on the Germans’ favorite island again without quarantine and mandatory testing upon return. A negative test only has to be presented when entering Spain.
After the decision of the federal government, flight bookings for Mallorca skyrocketed. The largest provider, Eurowings, therefore launched 300 additional flights to the Balearic island for the Easter period. Tui wants to open the first hotels on Mallorca as early as next weekend. In two weeks the Easter holidays will start in most of the federal states.
Criticism from Spain
In Spain, the opening of Mallorca to tourists also caused a lot of resentment. “At Easter Spain will be a bunker for the Spaniards and an oasis for tourists from abroad”, was the headline of the newspaper “ABC” at the weekend, which was as big as it was critical. The newspaper “Última Hora” spoke of “arbitrariness”, and even the “Mallorca Zeitung” stated: “Easter holidays in Mallorca: yes for Germans, no for Spaniards”.
The federal government classifies the countries and regions abroad as risk areas in which there are more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in 7 days. That still applies to most of Europe. In the Balearic Islands the value on Friday was only 21.3. This automatically meant deletion from the risk list and the lifting of the travel warning, which enables bookings to be canceled free of charge. On Monday, according to the Ministry of Health in Madrid, the value fell further to just 19.40.
In the travel advice on the Internet, the Federal Foreign Office continues to advise against “unnecessary, tourist trips”. But this is nothing more than a recommendation, it has no legal consequences. In their resolution of March 3, the federal and state governments had already “urgently” appealed to all citizens to “refrain from travel that is not absolutely necessary at home and abroad”.
Lower Saxony is now thinking about reintroducing compulsory testing for Mallorca returnees on their own. Government spokeswoman Anke Pörksen said that the people who wanted to travel there should know that they are exposing themselves to a certain risk. People from all over Germany and Europe meet on site, and there is a risk of infections spreading. Even if a PCR test at the airport turns out negative, this does not mean that a returnee is not already carrying the virus. “You bring a real problem into the country with your eyesight.”
tel / dpa