Ghost Town Ibiza: Holiday Island Abandoned As Covid Restrictions Ground Tourists Across Europe

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Ibiza’s famously pristine beaches seemed eerily quiet this month as coronavirus restrictions forced tourists to stay away from the holiday island.

The sun-drenched beaches in the party hotspot, which normally thrive with tourists, appeared almost deserted after the island was placed on the government’s amber list amid growing concerns about variants of the coronavirus.

The scenes, which are a marked change from the crowded beaches in previous years, come as experts said recent data on infection and vaccination rates meant that Spain and the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, Greece and France are likely on the amber journey of the government would continue to list.

Holidaymakers traveling to the government’s amber list countries must either quarantine at home for ten days or undergo a PCR test on days two and eight after their arrival in the UK.

This month, images of Ibiza’s Cala de Sant Vicent and Sant Antoni resorts showed virtually empty beaches with very few tourists.

In 2013, the same beach flourished with tourists

This month, a beach in Cala de Sant Vicent, Ibiza, appeared virtually deserted (left) after the island was placed on the government’s amber list. The scenes contrasted sharply with those in 2013 which showed a crowded beach thriving with tourists (right)

The beach seemed almost empty
The beach once flourished with sunbathers

The beach at the party resort destination appeared empty (left) as coronavirus restrictions forced tourists to stay away from the holiday island

The windswept beaches (left) seemed deserted after the island was placed on the government’s amber list. Current guidelines require holidaymakers (tourists on the beach in 2013, right) traveling to government amber-list countries to either quarantine at home for ten days

A beach in Ibiza's Sant Antoni seems eerily quiet after the Balearic Islands are kept off the green list by the government

A beach in Ibiza’s Sant Antoni seems eerily quiet after the Balearic Islands are kept off the green list by the government

It comes just weeks after Transport Minister Grant Shapps declined to confirm whether the Balearic Islands would be added to the government’s green list this month.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: ‘We will have to wait for the Joint BioSecurity Center to give their reading on all of this.

“We have always said in the past that we have tried to assess islands separately.

“Whether that’s possible or not depends not only on the level of infection on those islands, but also on their ability to sequence the genomes that we know, the variants or possible variants of concern on those islands as well.”

Last month, experts Robert Boyle, a former BA strategist, and Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, both agreed that Spain, Greece, Italy and France were unlikely to make the green list this month.

However, Messrs Boyle and Charles identified Malta, Finland and some Spanish islands as strong candidates for the green list. Mr Boyle also tipped some Greek islands, while Mr Charles said a number of Caribbean islands are in question.

Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com, said: “There is a science case and a data-led case to greenlist more destinations.”

Meanwhile, Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “Public health is the priority, it should take precedence over economic health, but we believe those goals can be safely achieved by putting more countries on the green list.”

Spain’s tourism minister, Fernando Valdes, also said he hoped at least parts of the country would be placed on Britain’s green list when the holiday season kicked off.

The country has already opened its doors to people from the UK, but travelers will have to quarantine for nearly two weeks when they get home from their holiday.

Yesterday, travel industry leaders rejected the government’s “crippling” decision to remove Portugal from the green list of safe destinations amid growing concerns about the Nepalese coronavirus strain.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps announced that the Mediterranean country, whose economy relies heavily on British tourists, was moved to the orange list from 4 a.m. on Tuesday after a surge in positive tests.

But the move sparked anger among travel industry leaders, including the chief executives of Heathrow and easyJet, who accused the government of trying to “isolate” Britain from the world and warned another “lost summer” could lead. to a job bloodbath and billions more. be wiped out of the economy.

Very few tourists spotted on a beach in Sant Antoni
The beach flourished with tourists in 2018

On a beach in Sant Antoni, Ibiza (left), very few tourists were spotted after the holiday destination was not on the government’s ‘green list’. But in 2018, the same beach flourished with sunbathers (right)

A few stragglers were spotted on the beach
In 2013, the beach was teeming with tourists

A few stragglers (left) were spotted this month soaking up the sun on a Cala de Sant Vicent beach, after the island was placed on the UK’s amber list. However, the beach is overrun with tourists during the summer season (right)

Last month, Spain's tourism minister, Fernando Valdes, said he hoped at least parts of the country would be placed on Britain's green list.

Last month, Spain’s tourism minister, Fernando Valdes, said he hoped at least parts of the country would be placed on Britain’s green list.

The windswept beach of Cala de Sant Vicent seemed almost deserted this month after the Balearic Islands were kept off the 'green list' of countries deemed safe to travel to

The windswept beach of Cala de Sant Vicent seemed almost deserted this month after the Balearic Islands were kept off the ‘green list’ of countries deemed safe to travel to

Last month, experts Robert Boyle, a former BA strategist, and Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, tipped some Spanish islands as strong candidates for the green list.  Pictured: a crowded beach in Cala de Sant Vicent in 2013

Last month, experts Robert Boyle, a former BA strategist, and Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, tipped some Spanish islands as strong candidates for the green list. Pictured: a crowded beach in Cala de Sant Vicent in 2013

In a statement, package tour company TUI UK called the announcement “another step back for our industry” and demanded to see the scientific basis for the decision.

The director, Andrew Flintham, said: “After promises that the Global Travel Taskforce would result in a clear framework and the removal of the damaging flip-flops we all endured last summer, the government’s decision to take Portugal directly from the green will move to orange, deal untold damage. to customer confidence.

“We were reassured that a green waiting list would be created and given a week’s notice so travelers wouldn’t have to rush home. They have failed in this promise.

“Unlike other European countries and despite multiple requests, the government has refused to be transparent about the data requirements for green, orange and red destinations.

“We need to see the methodology so that we can help our customers and plan our operations accordingly. There are destinations all over the world with few or no Covid-19 cases and good vaccination rates, so we need to understand why they remain on the orange list.”

Which tests do you need when returning from abroad?

GREEN LIST

You must have a lateral flow test within 72 hours of your return flight to England, followed by a PCR test on or before the second day of your return. During this time you do not need to put yourself in isolation.

The cost of a PCR test in the UK can be as much as £125 each, while a lateral flow test taken abroad at Faro Airport, for example, is around €30 (£25).

When arriving abroad, you may also need to provide proof of a negative PCR taken within 72 hours of your outbound flight, or proof of vaccination, depending on destination requirements.

AMBER LIST

You must either quarantine at home for ten days on your return and do a PCR test on days two and eight, as well as a lateral flow test before the return flight.

Or you can pay an additional third “Test to Release” on day five to end self-isolation early. On or after day eight you still have to take the compulsory second test.

British families of four in Portugal now have to pay £1,500 to buy three sets of PCR tests for £125 each, if they fall under the ‘Test to Release’ scheme.

If you add this to the cost of a lateral flow test, which can be bought at Faro Airport for €30 (£25), the total cost for a family of four would be around £1,600.

RED LIST

If you are traveling to a red-listed country, or are in an amber country that turns red before returning, you must quarantine at a government-approved hotel for £1,750 on your return.

Before traveling to England you must take a PCR or lateral flow test and get a negative result for the three days before you travel.

You’ll also need to book a quarantine hotel package — which includes two additional tests for when you’re at the hotel — and complete a passenger locator form.

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