Tag: Travel

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 9-11 June 2023


A delightful second weekend of June ahead with all kinds of events to get involved with on Gran Canaria. The Harvest Fair arrives on the south, in El Tablero, patron saints’ fiestas in honour of San Antonio of Padua and San Pedro are happening around the island, Corpus Christi salt carpets and processions are held this Sunday, markets and music festivals as well as sporting events. Hopefully the weather will sustain all these wonderful festivities and happenings in the glorious outdoors, on which so much depends on this little island.

Menas Case: Foundation Siglo XXI directors allegedly filed false invoices, unrealistic expenses and repeatedly drew funds from ATMs, meant for the care of migrant children, even charging botox facial treatments and posh restaurant bills to foundation debit cards

A comprehensive analysis conducted by Group I of the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) of the National Police yielded scandalous results, writes Spanish language daily Canarias7, regarding the alleged irregular use of the public funds intended for the care of unaccompanied minors, by the suspected to have been perpetrated by centres managed by the Foundation Social Response Siglo XXI on Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. In this case, driven by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, investigators discovered that the director of the Guiniguada centre charged the NGO responsible for €1,500 worth of beauty treatments and €1,113 for bills at top restaurants including Vinófilos, El Vasco de Vegueta, and Triciclo.



Centre-Right Pact Between Regionalists (CC) And Resident Conservatives (PPAV) Returns Marco Aurelio Perez As Southern Mayor

The conservative Partido Popular-Agrupación de Vecinos (PP-AV) and the right of centre regionalist Coalición Canaria (CC) have this Thursday signed a local government pact that will shape the future of the southern Gran Canaria tourism municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The alliance, dubbed a “Pact for Stability and Socioeconomic Progress of San Bartolomé Tirajana”, represents 60% of the votes cast in the municipality’s recent local elections, emphasised the  mayor-elect, Marco Aurelio Pérez (PP-AV), who returns for the third time to lead the local council responsible for some of the most important tourism areas on the island, including Maspalomas, Playa del Inglés and San Agustín.



Local Government Coalition Agreement Maspalomas and the South of Gran Canaria

A governing coalition pact has been finalised in San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The Popular Party–Agrupación de Vecinos (PP-AV) conservative residents party is to join forces with regionalist centre-right Coalición Canaria (CC) to govern the main tourist municipality on Gran Canaria for the next four years. Marco Aurelio Pérez will serve as mayor for the entire four-year term, and the Popular Party will take charge of Employment, Sports, Roads and Infrastructure, and Human Resources, among other areas. The regionalists, led by Alejandro Marichal, will oversee Urban Planning, Economy and Finance, and Tourism as their main departments.



Storm Óscar Latest: Government of the Canary Islands Declares Rain Alert for Western Islands and Gran Canaria

A storm system, dubbed Óscar, has formed over the last few days over the mid-north Atlantic, unusual for this time of year, and has led to concern from meteorologists and journalists as it passes south of the Azores, its tail should reach The Canary Islands, before the system heads northeast towards mainland Spain.  Advisory warnings have been issued in expectation of heavy rainfall, primarily in the Western Isles of the Canary Islands Archipelago, though some rainfall is also expected to reach Gran Canaria over the next couple of days.  It seems unlikely that any major consequences will stem from the bad weather, however these things can be unpredictable and so every precaution is taken to ensure people are informed and kept safe.




Canary Islands Tourism launches an unprecedented strategy to encourage domestic travel market

The Canary Islands Regional Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, through the public company Promotur Turismo de Islas Canarias, has launched a never-before-seen strategy to encourage domestic tourism, especially focused on the accommodation sector. “We carried out an unprecedented exercise of communication and sales promotion, which we combined with a program to generate economic activity around the regulated tourist establishments of the eight islands,” explained the Regional Minister responsible for the area, Yaiza Castilla, during the presentation last Wednesday, 9 June.

The Ministry led by Yaiza Castilla have launched an ambitious campaign consisting of a communication strategy aimed at directly Canarian tourists and a series of measures to boost activity around accommodation establishments, with an investment of €16 million.
With the domestic tourism promotion, up to 50,000 Canarian residents will benefit from tourist vouchers, which will each have a balance of €200 charged to the program to promote holidays within the Archipelago until the end of this year.
According to the data from Promotur, the Canarian tourism is a market that is reactivated faster than the rest. From January to April, 76% of the demand that existed in 2019 for those same months has been recovered. In the summer of 2020, the domestic market gained a significant share and was responsible for 36% of total demand, compared to 19% in the summer of 2019. Along with peninsular tourism, which also gained a share in the accommodation demand (with Spanish tourism’s share of the pie increasing from 15% of the summer of 2019 to 25% of the summer of 2020), “Canarian tourism helped to boost tourist accommodation in the face of the loss of most of the international,” Castilla recalled.
However, the counsellor clarified that for the summer of 2021 there are slightly more optimistic forecasts for international tourism based on the latest measures adopted, such as the free movement of vaccinated people or the acceptance of antigen tests, as well as attenuation to the contagion numbers and the rate of vaccination in Europe. In any case, Castilla was cautious: “We cannot lose sight of the fact that the majority of countries and regions in our environment are promoting holidays at home for their citizens, some of them through very harsh travel restrictions and a large part through an incentive system ”.
For this reason, “we wanted to make a strong commitment to generate activity in our tourism sector promoting its economic recovery. That is our task as the Council responsible for the main economic engine of the Islands, for whose reactivation we must do everything possible, and that has also been our commitment to the employers ”, added Castilla.
The strategy consists of four parts, the first of which is a €1m communication campaign for domestic tourism, an unprecedented budget for this market. The action has been launched this week to serve as support over the coming weeks for three further initiatives to promote local tourism consumption and generate economic activity, to which €15 million will be allocated. These are a tourism voucher for accommodation, another tourism voucher for travel agencies and a stimulus line for complementary activities, budgeted a €5 million each.
“We have made an historic investment to promote Canarian tourism, with a total of €16 million and an extended execution period until December 2021, which will allow us to mobilise the internal market not only in summer, but also to tackle the re-entry into tourism normalisation, which we hope will intensify with our high season and in 2022 ”, explained Castilla.
Up to 50,000 Canarian residents will be able to access one of the two types of tourist vouchers, those for accommodation and those for travel agencies, which will be given as prepaid cards endowed with €200 that can be enjoyed until the end of the year. “These incentive mechanisms for domestic tourism consumption will ultimately benefit our companies and, therefore, their workers,” Castilla highlighted. To this initiative will be added another €5 million, for a line of incentives for complementary activities (leisure, restaurants and active tourism).

The tourist accommodation voucher will consist of a virtual or physical card that will be pre-loaded with €200 to which the resident beneficiary will have to contribute another €200 more. “We are convinced that this will be the final trigger to make the decision to travel within the Archipelago, a decision that will double the economic boost to the sector, which thanks to the participation of the Canaries will go from five to ten million euros,” said Managing Director of Promotur Turismo de Islas Canarias, José Juan Lorenzo. The formula to achieve one of these bonuses will be through a public draw before a notary, in order that all participants have the same possibilities.
During the first two weeks of July, Canarian residents over 18 years of age can register on the website www.somosafortunados.com to apply for a nominative card. The draw will be held on July 14 and a day later the list of winners will be published, at which time the voucher may begin to be used both to pay for the stay and to enjoy any other service offered by the chosen accommodation. People who obtain a voucher will be able to choose between the establishments registered in the General Tourist Registry of the Canary Islands that have adhered to this initiative and that have a POS with an assigned business number, in order for the beneficiary to use their card in a face-to-face setting.
The tourist voucher for travel agencies will be achieved through the same process, a draw before a notary public, and on the same dates. In this case, the first difference is that the card will also have a charge of €200, but the Canarian resident will not have to contribute any financial amount. This voucher must be spent in physical travel agencies, located on any of the eight islands, and must be used to contract a vacation package that involves a minimum stay of 5 days in summer season (between July and September) or a minimum stay of 3 days between October and December.

Gran Canaria summer season starts with the most ever air routes to mainland Spain

The Gran Canaria summer season will start boasting the greatest ever number of air connections to mainland Spain, now having direct links with 21 cities on the Peninsula.  460,000 airline seats will be available for the months of June, July and August, similar levels to those last seen in 2019, the summer before the global health crisis.



These announcements were made on the first day of International Tourism Fair FITUR, in Madrid, which opened yesterday signalling a return to tourism activity after the 2020 hiatus, with an atmosphere of optimism among tourism operators and institutions all reading signs of reactivation in the sector, starting with Spanish national tourism, which is the third most important market for Gran Canaria after Germany, and the United Kingdom.
According to president of the island government, the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, “the data is very positive, we are in a position to affirm, according to the airlines, that for this summer visitor figures [similar to] 2019 can be recovered, in addition to incorporating new destinations“.  Morales insisted, however, that it is necessary to “exercise responsibility” pointing out how important it is “not to lower our guard” saying “that the circumstances are occurring to recover tourism”, a process that new outbreaks could cut short.
Gran Canaria’s Councillor for Tourism, Carlos Álamo, also expressed optimism for the summer with interest received from agencies, tour operators and tourism agents and the milestone of connections with 21 airports to the Peninsula and to the eastern Balearic Islands this summer. “It is very important for the reactivation of a sector that has been very damaged and that, with respect to national tourists, not only recovers one hundred percent of the previous connections expanding more than ever before. We have communities like Asturias and Galicia to which five airlines are going to offer fixed routes this summer. In addition, this is a client of great interest to the destination for being above average in expenses. This confirms the interest in travelling to Gran Canaria and helps us face the summer with a certain degree of optimism ”, explained the counsellor and president of the Patronato de Turismo, Gran Canaria Tourist Board.
The cities of Reus and Jérez join those with direct flights to the island for the first time, and connectivity with Galicia and Asturias has been reinforced, with 5 different companies operating routes from these two communities in the north of Spain. The UK Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliot, attended the inauguration of the stand for Gran Canaria, where he had the opportunity to exchange views with Antonio Morales and Carlos Álamo.


SOS Save Our Summer Travel campaign to help restart UK tourism to Spain from May 1st

A campaign action group, which started last Friday from Mallorca, calling themselves “SOS Travel” is continuing to grow having gained support from several UK tourism companies and the south of Spain’s Asociación Provincial de Hoteles y Alojamientos Turísticos de Alicante (APHA – Alicante Provincial Association of Hotels and Tourist Accommodations). They are fighting to advocate for a tourism sector that finds itself against the ropes, particularly when it comes to seasonal destinations like the south of Spain and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. Tour operators and airlines like Easyjet, retail agencies and British companies that work with inbound tourism from London and other points of origin in the United Kingdom have launched the SOS “Save our Summer” campaign to apply pressure on the government of Boris Johnson to find pathways to a return to normality and recover tourism from May 1 2021.
Reporting: Timon .:.Cover Image: Bård Ove Myhr



Some formidable UK travel companies, with pre-Covid-19 revenues of more than £11 billion annually, are said to be “united in outrage” following conflicting advice, last week, from UK government ministers regarding the reopening of the hospitality and tourism sector.
The action group, which is telling consumers to ignore ministers’ “don’t book” travel advice, is supported by travel firms large and small who have guaranteed that anyone booking through them will be entitled to either a refund or a change of date for their holiday if travel is cancelled or not possible due to government Covid-19 restrictions.
Save Our Summer, or SOS Travel, also urges prime minister, Boris Johnson, to set out a very clear roadmap for opening up the travel sector, for staycations and overseas trips, from May 1st.

British travel agents are somewhat reliant, of course, on the rate of vaccination in Great Britain, often confusingly reported, where almost 16 million citizens have already received their first dose of the vaccine, however, right now, less than 600,000 individuals have been given a second dose to achieve supposed immunity. The health problem caused by the pandemic in the United Kingdom, like everywhere, is compounded by the economic problems associated with lockdowns and restrictions, so not only are businesses not able to operate, and unemployment rising faster by the week, but those who still hold on to their jobs are either still furloughed and so on reduced incomes or are simply being very cautious with so much uncertainty around.  Nevertheless some in the UK press claim to know that there will in fact be international tourism this summer, however there is scant evidence that anyone can rely on, and we can be sure that every summer destination is desperately looking for some sign, any sign, that the tourists are coming back.
British tour operators and airlines move millions of UK citizens around the world every year, The Canary Islands in recent years have received around 5 million British tourists annually, with nearly 1.5 million of those choosing Gran Canaria. The numbers were rising for many years, but then started to slow down even before the pandemic. Everything has now been pretty much stopped for a year, with visits to the Canary Islands over the last 12 months barely in the hundreds of thousands, and most resort areas remain all but empty, with the rare exception of those few hotels who have found other ways to survive, including rebranding for Digital Nomads and assisting Spain with its humanitarian efforts.  All in all, in the archipelago, we have so far lost 35% of GDP, 40% of employment which supports up to 60% of our population.  Though many sectors have been able to continue, due to our relatively low infection rates, the simple fact is that Gran Canaria and the islands needs to see a return to tourism too, and up to a third of all our tourism comes from the UK.  Nevertheless, Canary Islands tourism has one strength over most other destinations in Europe, and that is that we are a speciality winter tourism destination, with all round sunshine and the only sub-tropical climate in the EU, so many businesses here, who are able to, have already started to plan for a return after this coming summer, in the hope of capitalising on our uniqueness in this market.
The tourism sector is desperately looking for movement, but UK reservations for the summer this year are just not looking good, although there has been a small increase, over recent weeks, and some tour operators do report that there are more hopeful reservations for Autumn and Winter, which of course bodes well for The Canary Islands, many say that where they are currently seeing the greatest interest for holiday bookings, is for 2022 onwards.
With non-essential international travel currently restricted from the UK and Spanish restrictions also in place to try to avoid transmission of the British variant, UK tourism right now is all but impossible, however many are hopeful of being able to set a date in the future at which everyone can aim themselves. The Johnson government are scheduled to explain their “de-escalation plan” next Monday, February 22, so that the UK can start to organise for their hoped-for return towards normality. Tour operators are now looking for travellers to book from the May 1, and they are (at last), according to industry sources consulted in the last couple of days, offering guarantees that any bookings made now will come with the right to a full refund (didn’t they always!?) or a change of dates, if necessary.

Paul Charles, chief executive of the PC Agency and co-founder of SOS Save Our Summer, is reported to have said: “Give us all a break Boris.
“The industry is united in outrage.
“Senior government ministers have done a good job of torpedoing recovery in the travel sector and threatening jobs across travel and tourism.”
“UK citizens should ignore their conflicting advice and book summer trips with confidence, knowing that they can get a refund or refix their travel dates if booking through a reputable travel provider signed up to SOS.”

The SOS Save Our Summer campaign is supported by more than 120 travel companies, including Easyjet Holidays, Trailfinders and DialAFlight, as published this week by the British newspaper he Guardián. “The message is that’ UK citizens should ignore the conflicting advice of government ministers and book summer trips with confidence. Today the travel industry is on the edge of the abyss” they say . “There should now be a clear roadmap established as of May 1 specifically for travel, in order to restore consumer confidence and protect millions of jobs at stake.” The group is also calling for quarantine measures, currently in force to enter the country, be replaced by an extensive testing program, with rapid tests on arrival and departure.
The protest movement has also extended to the hospitality sector which calls for restaurants to be able to open in a way that is safe but allows them to operate “in a commercially viable manner”, a problem analogous to the one faced by the hoteliers.

Over 120 SOS Travel supporters currently include Trailfinders, easyJet Holidays, Travelopia, Mr & Mrs Smith, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, DialAFlight, Sykes Holiday Cottages, Audley Travel, True Travel, Wild Frontiers, &Beyond Group, Elegant Resorts, Campbell Gray Hotels, Celebrity Cruises, Steppes Travel, YourGolfTravel, Ski Solutions, the Turquoise Holiday Company, Teletext Holidays, Plan South America, Oxford Ski, the Thinking Traveller, Bellini Travel and True Luxury Sport.

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European Commission “strongly discourage” non-essential travel, and call for new greatest risk category

The European Commission this Monday has asked the EU27 to take further measures to “strongly discourage” travel both within member states and between them, as well as to and from outside “third countries”, to try to contain the new variants of coronavirus found in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, calling for a new category to be created, coloured “dark red”, to identify areas of greatest risk that show more than 500 new infections per 100,000 population over a 14 day sample.



“The first recommendation is not to travel,” said the Interior Commissioner, Swedish socialist Ylva Johansson, at the press conference in Brussels to present details of the proposal that, in general terms, had already been put forward by the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen (pictured), last Thursday after the meeting with EU Heads of State and Government.
With the help of a mockup graphic, shown in the same appearance by the Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, should a fourth colour be incorporated into the risk classifications from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), there would already be a dozen countries that would have some part of their territory tinted dark red, including the entirety of Spain based on its current 14-day Average Incidence of 804/100k population.

Despite Spain’s average data per population, were the ECDC recommendations more detailed on a regional level The Canary Islands archipelago could in theory be excluded as a whole ( standing at an average 189.1/100k), although Lanzarote could not be left out of the Spanish figure (currently just short of 800/100k).
For the latest Canary Islands COVID-19 data, updated daily, visit our page for mobile here, or for more feature rich content on desktop devices you can check here.

Brussels, does not control competences in health matters for the EU nor border management, but this Monday began negotiations at a technical level with the member states to achieve “as soon as possible” a consensus that the EU27 can commit to and follow, although national authorities continue to have the last word when choosing to apply the recommendations, or not.
The EU believes that unnecessary journeys “should not occur at all” to or from regions that exceed a threshold of 500 infections per 100,000 over fourteen days, according to the commissioner, and recommends that people who do travel on trips considered “essential” should be subjected to a PCR test before departure, and adhere to a strict fourteen-day quarantine upon arrival at their destination.
The recommendations of the European Commission follow one published last week by the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), which urged the countries of the European Union to strengthen measures to discourage all “non-essential” travel.
However, the Commission insists that it believes the closure of borders within the European Union is not an effective solution against the virus, but rather that an approach that adapts restrictive measures to the epidemiological situation of each region, regardless of where borders are present, and so they called for the free movement of essential and cross-border goods and workers to be maintained smoothly.
Following the recommendations of the ECDC, Brussels asks member states to “maintain or reinforce” severe measures such as the principle of staying at home and the temporary closure of businesses in places where the risk of infection can be considered to be very high, although the also stressed that it is essential for tracing and testing to improve pandemic control and the sequencing of new cases.
The Commission also took advantage of this recommendation announcement to insist on the need for a common passenger form, an initiative that Brussels hoped would be underway throughout the EU at the end of last year but is still under development due to legal complications involved in requiring travellers to provide certain types of personal data that could later be shared with the rest of the member states.


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Coronavirus: European Commission recommends rapid antigen tests and support to increase testing capacity

Today, the European Commission adopted a recommendation on the use of rapid antigen tests for the diagnosis of COVID-19. This follows the Commission’s recommendation on 28 October to ensure a common approach and more efficient testing strategies across the EU. It builds on the guidance developed with Member States input and expert advice from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Here is the complete text of Wednesday’s historic Commission Recommendation of 18.11.2020 on the use of rapid antigen tests for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection which EU leaders will be asked to agree at their meeting on Thursday



Mr Charles MICHEL, President of the European Council. Video conference with EU leaders© European Union
The recommendation provides guidance on how to select rapid antigen tests, when they are appropriate and who should perform them. It also calls for validation and mutual recognition of tests and their results. This comes ahead of the European Leaders’ virtual meeting on 19 November on the EU response to the COVID-19 pandemic, following the 29 October European Council, where it was agreed to coordinate more on testing methods.
The Commission has also signed an agreement with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) contributing €35.5 million, financed by the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI), to scale up COVID-19 testing capacity in the EU. The funding will be used to support training of staff for sampling collection and analysis and performance of tests, especially via mobile equipment.
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food safety said: “Testing tells us what the extent of the spread is, where it is, and how it develops. It is a decisive tool to slow down the spread of COVID-19. To increase EU coordination on testing methods, we are today providing guidance to Member States on the use of rapid antigen test to better manage COVID-19 outbreaks. Being efficient on testing also requires having the necessary resources, which is why we are also today stepping up our support to increase Member States testing capacity. Support and solidarity is key to overcome this pandemic.”
Today’s recommendation provides guidance to Member States on the use of rapid antigen tests to detect the virus in specific settings. These include situations where a fast identification of infected individuals supports the management of outbreaks and regular monitoring of high risk groups, such as medical personal or in nursing homes for elderly. Member States are encouraged to conduct rapid antigen tests in addition to RT-PCR tests to contain the spread of the virus, detect infections and limit isolation and quarantine measures.
Mutual recognition of test results is of utmost importance in order to facilitate cross border movement, cross border contact tracing and treatment. Member States are strongly encouraged to mutually recognise the test results for rapid antigen tests meeting the criteria in the recommendation carried out by authorised operating testing facilities in any EU Member States. Compliance with the recommendation may then contribute to the free movement of people and the smooth functioning of the internal market in times of limited testing capacities.
Scientific and technical developments continue to evolve, offering new insights on the characteristics of the virus and the possibilities for using different methodologies and approaches for COVID-19 diagnosis. The Commission therefore remains ready to further update the recommendation on the use of tests accordingly.
To further enhance testing capacities in the EU, the Commission is funding €35.5 million to the IFRC to support training of staff and enable Red Cross Mobile Testing Teams to have access to the necessary equipment, lab items and reagents to take samples and perform tests, and support national authorities in their work.
The collaboration with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is open to the EU Member States and the UK, through the national Red Cross Society. Seven Member states have decided to participate: Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain.


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