Ibiza’s famous pristine beaches appeared eerily quiet this month as coronavirus restrictions forced tourists to stay away from the holiday island.
The sun-soaked beaches in the party hotspot, which are normally thriving with tourists, appeared almost deserted after the island was placed on the Government’s amber list amid growing concern over coronavirus variants.
The scenes, which are a marked change from the packed beaches seen in previous years, come as experts said recent data on infection and vaccination rates meant that Spain and the Balearics and Canary Islands, Greece, and France would likely remain on the Government’s amber travel list.
Holidaymakers travelling to the Government’s amber list countries are required to either quarantine at home for ten days or take a PCR test on days two and eight after their arrival to the UK.
This month, images from Ibiza’s Cala de Sant Vicent and Sant Antoni resorts showed virtually empty beaches with very few 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 were a stark contrast to those in 2013 which showed a packed beach thriving with tourists (right)
The beach in the party resort destination appeared empty (left) as coronavirus restrictions forced tourists to stay away from the holiday island
The windswept beaches (left) appeared deserted after the island was placed on the Government’s amber list. Under the current guidelines, holidaymakers (tourists on the beach in 2013, right) travelling to the Government’s amber list countries are required either to quarantine at home for ten days
A beach in Sant Antoni, Ibiza, appears eerily quiet after the Balearic Islands were kept off the green list by the Government
It comes just weeks after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps refused to confirm if the Balearic islands would be added to the Government’s green list this month.
Speaking on Sky News he said: ‘We will have to wait for the Joint BioSecurity centre to provide their readout on all of this.
‘We have always said in the past we have tried to assess islands separately.
‘Whether that is possible or not isn’t just down to the level of infection on those islands, it’s also down to their ability to sequence the genomes that we know about, the variants or potential 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 it was unlikely Spain, Greece, Italy and France would make the green list this month.
However, Mr Boyle and Mr 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 clutch of Caribbean islands are in contention.
Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com, said: ‘There is a scientific case and a data-led case for more destinations to be put on the green list.’
Meanwhile Jonathan Hinkles, chief executive of Loganair, said: ‘Public health is the priority, that has to rank above economics health, but we believe those objects can be safely achieved by putting more countries onto the green list.’
Spain’s tourism minister, Fernando Valdes, also said he hoped at least parts of the country would be put onto Britain’s green list as the holiday season began to open.
The country has already opened its doors to people from the UK, but travellers have to quarantine for nearly two weeks when they get home from their holiday.
Yesterday travel industry chiefs blasted the Government’s ‘crippling’ decision to axe Portugal from its green list of safe destinations amid growing concern over the Nepal coronavirus variant.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the Mediterranean country, whose economy relies greatly on UK tourists, was being moved to the amber list from 4am on Tuesday following a rise in positive tests.
But the move triggered fury from travel industry chiefs, including the chief executives of Heathrow and easyJet, who accused the Government of trying to ‘isolate’ Britain from the world and warned that another ‘lost summer’ could lead to a jobs bloodbath and billions more being wiped from the economy.
Very few tourists were spotted on a beach in Sant Antoni, Ibiza (left), after the holiday destination failed to included on the Government’s ‘green list’. However in 2018, the very same beach was thriving with sun-seekers (right)
A few stragglers (left) were spotted enjoying the sun on a beach Cala de Sant Vicent this month after the island was placed on the UK’s amber list. However the beach has perviously been flooded 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 put onto Britain’s green list
The windswept beach in Cala de Sant Vicent appeared almost deserted this mont 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 packed beach in Cala de Sant Vicent in 2013
In a statement, package holiday firm TUI UK called the announcement ‘another step back for our industry’ and demanded to see the scientific basis for the decision.
Its managing director, Andrew Flintham, said: ‘After promises that the Global Travel Taskforce would result in a clear framework, removing the damaging flip flopping we all endured last summer, the Government decision to move Portugal straight from green to amber will do untold damage to customer confidence.
‘We were reassured that a green watch list would be created and a weeks’ notice would be given so travellers wouldn’t have to rush back home. They have failed on this promise.
‘Unlike other European countries and despite multiple requests, the government has refused to be transparent about the data requirements for green, amber and red destinations.
‘We must see the methodology so we can help our customers and plan our operations accordingly. There are destinations around the world with little or no Covid-19 cases and good vaccination rates, so we need to understand why these remain on the amber list.’
What tests do you need when returning from foreign countries?
You will be required to take 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. You will not be required to self-isolate during this time.
The cost of a PCR test can be up to £125 each in Britain, while a lateral flow test taken abroad at Faro Airport, for example, is about €30 (£25).
When arriving in the foreign country, you may also need to need provide proof of a negative PCR taken within 72 hours of your outbound flight, or proof of vaccination, depending on the destination’s requirements.
You will be required either to quarantine at home for ten days on your return and take a PCR test on days two and eight, as well as a lateral flow test before the return flight.
Or you can pay for an additional third ‘Test to Release’ on day five to end self-isolation early. You will still need to take the compulsory second test on or after day eight.
British families of four in Portugal now face having to pay £1,500 to buy three sets of PCR tests at £125 each, if they go under the ‘Test to Release’ scheme.
Adding 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 about £1,600.
If you travel to a red list country, or are in an amber country that turns red before you return, you would need to quarantine at a government-approved hotel on your return at a cost of £1,750.
Before you travel to England, you must take a PCR or lateral flow test and get a negative result during the three days before you travel.
You should also book a quarantine hotel package – including two further tests for when you are in the hotel – and complete a passenger locator form.