NEWS: Spain’s New ‘Travel Corridors’ With Rapid Testing, Will Cover Quarantine or Medical Costs for Positive Visitors

BA launch new winter routesTenerife, Canary Islands,

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Spain has recently announced it will be establishing new ‘travel corridors’ between some of it’s more popular tourist islands and major European countries, in a bid to boost tourism.

The corridor, which will open up the Canary and Balearic Islands, means that any tourists visiting from countries with a COVID-19 case rate of 50 per 100,000 residents (or less) over the past 14 days do not need to quarantine upon arrival, nor do they need to provide a negative test result or certificate.

These include popular spots like Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Tenerife.

Cala Macarella beach, Menorca

Anyone arriving from a country with a higher rate will need to provide a negative test from no more than 48 hours prior to departure. Travellers will also need to test again 48 hours prior to their departure home from the islands.

If anybody tests positive, either during their stay or prior to departure, they will be required to undergo 14-days hotel quarantine; however, this will be entirely funded by the Spanish government, as well as any associated medical or treatment costs.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, has said that ‘these protocols are the first and we hope to be able to extend them to other popular tourism destinations within Spain’s mainland.’

Unfortunately for UK residents, regardless of these new protocols, anyone returning home from a visit to Spain will need to undergo 14-day quarantine upon arrival back in the country for the moment.

Currently, Spain is not on the UK’s ‘travel corridor’ list, and it’s on the FCDO list as essential travel only. The country was removed in July, after a surge in cases most likely linked to high tourist numbers. You will probably need to buy additional insurance if you need to travel but it can be pretty cheap at less than £40 for one trip. 

Cala Comte beach, Ibiza

The latest figures show the UK has roughly 185 cases per 100,000 people per 7 days, meaning that hopeful holidaymakers would have to pay for their own private test. Several have spoken out about difficulty in finding a lab that will process a test within the required time, meaning this will likely be another big hurdle for travellers to jump if they want to get away.  

Private tests can cost anywhere from £130 – £175 each, and the NHS has requested that people not apply for the free tests in order to go on holiday, so that there is no shortage of tests for those showing symptoms or at risk, particularly as cases grow across the country.

Spain overall currently has around 182 cases per 100,000 people in the last 7 days, meaning that it is one of the highest-risk destinations in Europe.

However, it is an interesting idea; using rapid-testing to ensure the safety of travel and minimise risk for both tourists and locals. The tourism industry has suffered significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold early this year, and while it doesn’t seem like it will go away any time soon, it seems some are looking for new ways to live with it.

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4 Comments on "NEWS: Spain’s New ‘Travel Corridors’ With Rapid Testing, Will Cover Quarantine or Medical Costs for Positive Visitors"

  1. I’ve a trip planned to Málaga on 1st January, and I haven’t been able to find references to this testing plan. Is it only to islands and not the mainland? There is mention of an online form which delivers a QR code and arrival temperature checks.

    • Hi James,
      As far as we’re aware, so far it is only the Canary and Balearic islands. They are hoping to extend it to the mainland if it proves successful so hopefully it does so by the time you’re travelling!

  2. It’s an interesting idea, however at the moment it hasn’t been in my opinion throughly thought through practically. Firstly why 48 hours before, which presents a very narrow timeframe to enable to firstly arrange a test but secondly ensuring you will receive the results in time & thirdly the current cost of a private test is so expensive as to put off most families for even thinking of travelling.
    If testing is required this has to be a more joined up process with the inclusion of the airlines, travel companies and government both in the UK & Overseas.
    Given that most airport operators have capacity to accommodate rapid testing of passengers with the ability to share the result with the carrier airline and subsequent transmission of these results to the arrival airport/tourist authority.
    A similar process could also be put into place at the Overseas destination with tests carried out at the departing airport.
    The economy of scale using the above system would keep the cost of the actual departing test down and could be shown as an added option at the time of booking a flight or a holiday.
    The downside I guess with testing on departure is how to handle passengers that have tested positive but this is not beyond the powers that be.
    We all need some outside the box thinking to enable overseas travel to be an option for the masses and not the few who are able to pay firstly the cost of the test and secondly the 14 day quarantine on return from the many countries that are deemed “unsafe”

    • Totally agree Craig! We will need to learn to live with this virus, it’s not going anywhere, and relevant bodies need to start thinking seriously about how we’re going to move forward with reopening international travel, safely and cost-efficiently.

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