German freedom to travel to Mallorca meets with criticism in Spain

Germany lifted the travel warning for Mallorca and other regions in Spain, Portugal and Denmark on Friday. This means that since Sunday it has been possible to vacation on the Germans’ favorite island again without quarantine and mandatory testing upon return. This has led to a surge in bookings for flights to Mallorca, even if the German government is calling for no tourist travel. And it has led to severe criticism in Spain.

“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: for Germans yes, for Spaniards no”.

“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.

After the decision of the German 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.

The German 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.

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”.

The Mainz virologist Bodo Plachter also considers restraint when traveling to be important. “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 also want to forget Corona. And that leads to (…) that caution falls and the infection rates rise.” That was also the case last summer.

The state government in 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.”

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