28th Oct 2020 @ 10:05 am

Lanzarote’s tourist association, Asolan, has declared its opposition to the Canarian Government’s plans to conduct testing of tourists in hotels and tourist accommodation. Nevertheless, the Canarian government also appears to be fully aware of the plan’s shortcomings.

The recently re-elected President of Asolan, Susana Pérez, yesterday expressed the association’s “absolute opposition to limiting testing to tourists only, as well as placing the responsibility for testing on registered tourist accommodation.” Instead, Asolan is calling for tests on all visitors arriving on the islands, whether they are here for holidays or other business, and they are repeating calls for testing to be carried out at airports and ports.

Pérez said “You have to bear in mind that there are a significant amount of domestic Spanish journeys still taking place from high-risk areas , despite regional restrictions. Also, the government is aware that many tourists and visitors stay in non-registered accommodation or second-homes. Who will check them? The Canarian President has not provided an answer”

In fact, Asolan’s concerns are largely shared by the Canarian Government, who appear to be fully aware that the testing regime is unsatisfactory and allows many visitors to “slip through the net” . Canarian tourist councillor Yaiza Castilla has criticised central government for its refusal to allow airport facilities to be used for testing; and the law that the Canarian government is expected to pass on Friday, which places the onus of testing on hotels and holiday accommodation, is seen as the only viable way to establish a testing regime.

Castilla commented yesterday “As we have recieved no support from the state to carry out tests at airports and ports, and as there is no state law requiring all arrivals to take a test, we have examined what it is within our power to do, in an exercise of legal engineering, to incentivize the arrival of tourists that have been tested.”  

Another alternative is for tour operators to voluntarily assume the responsibility for testing, as  TUI Netherlands pledged to do yesterday with Dutch travellers to the islands. However, even this solution would mean that many independent travellers who are coming to the island to stay with friends or family or in second homes, will not be tested – and it is this type of traveller, rather than tourists, which has been linked with at least two outbreaks on Lanzarote. 

Castilla has stated that she regards it as “essential” that all visitors arriving from overseas or mainland Spain show that they have been tested recently or are tested on arrival, but without the co-operation of airports this appears to be virtually impossible.

The proposed law will also require any Canarian resident staying in a hotel or holiday let on the islands to sign a declaration saying they have not left the Canaries in the previous 15 days.