On Sunday (2 May), the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published the weekly update of the colour codes for European destinations (see https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/colour-codes-by-country/). Things are moving in the right direction, as yet another series of popular holiday destinations have been converted from code red to orange. Striking and not coincidental: these are mainly islands, regions surrounded by water and therefore easier to control in terms of access.
The well-known holiday islands in the south have been following a positive trend for several weeks. At the beginning of April, the Portuguese Madeira and the Spanish Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca) were able to shake off code red and last week the Greek islands of Corfu, Zakynthos, Lesbos and Samos followed.
The list of destinations where the risk of infection is greatly reduced so that they get code orange is nicely supplemented this week with the Canary Islands (including Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Palma) and the Greek islands of Rhodes, Kos, Myconos, Santorini. and Karpathos. Based on the orange colour code, a mandatory week of quarantine is no longer mandatory for those returning, nor two tests upon return. As a result, TUI, the country’s largest travel organisation, can now again offer 18 beloved islands to its travellers. Because these islands have a limited surface area and access to them can be properly controlled, there is also a good chance that the situation there will remain under control.
In addition, Spain, Greece and Portugal require a negative PCR test for incoming foreigners, an extra safety for those who want to go on holiday this summer: both on the flight and at the holiday destination, only negative tested travellers are allowed.
The islands currently have by far the best cards for those who strive for the highest safety and security for their summer vacation.
Because the prospects for other destinations within and outside Europe are still unclear at the moment, hotels on the holiday islands are noticing a sharp increase in the number of bookings, not only among Belgian holidaymakers but from several European countries. The sector, therefore, expects that the concentrated demand and the relatively limited supply will mean that the available hotel rooms on these islands will quickly become fully booked. In recent months we have seen travel enthusiasts from, for example, Germany and the United Kingdom react quickly to announced relaxations; a clear signal that Belgians will also quickly secure their holiday on a southern island.