The manager of the Palma Tourism Board is calling for a swift review of the UK Foreign Office advice against non-essential travel to Spain.

Late last month, the British government changed the rules on travel to Spain, introducing quarantine requirements at short notice and advising against non-essential travel to the UK’s biggest market.

Hays Travel has since announced almost 900 staff are at risk of redundancy and said the government’s decision to reimpose quarantine restrictions had been “like turning off a tap” on summer 2020 bookings.

And last week, Tui said it will close 166 high street travel agencies as a response to consumer trends and predictions about the future of travel.

Pedro Homar, Palma Tourism Board manager, said: “It is very disappointing to see the impact of the blanket travel ban to Spain imposed by the UK government – not just on our local travel industry here in Mallorca but also on the British travel industry with the recent news from Hays Travel, as well as the Tui high street shop closures.

“Our tourism sector has worked tirelessly over the last few months to adapt to the situation and to ensure that tourism can reopen safely.”

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He highlighted how British tourism is vital to Mallorca and its capital Palma, because the UK is the second largest source market after Germany.

“Our industry has been hit hard by this pandemic and many of our residents rely on tourism for their livelihoods,” he said.

“In the last few weeks, we had high hopes to be able to make up for some of the huge losses our sector has experienced and we had invested heavily in safety and hygiene measures.

“By the end of August, we had hoped that our hotel capacity would be running at 70%. Due to this decision, many hoteliers will not be able to open at all.

“We do not feel this decision is representative of the situation. Numbers of coronavirus cases in the islands remain extremely low.

“We hope this advice is reviewed quickly so that we can welcome back British visitors to Palma.”