Balearics’ tourism chiefs have welcomed the UK’s move towards regional travel corridors as a step towards British holidaymakers returning to the islands.

Tourism minister Iago Negueruela backed the UK government’s decision to introduce a more targeted approach to travel corridors by separating some islands from mainland countries.

He voiced confidence than the islands’ economic recovery will be accelerated with the arrival of British visitors.

The government of the archipelago is negotiating the reopening of safe travel corridors for tourists without the need for quarantine on return, he revealed.

Negueruela also revealed the creation of a new think tank, bringing together the public and private sectors, including businesses and trade unions to discuss initiatives to allow the tourism sector to restart as soon as possible emphasising how the 2021 season will be “absolutely vital” for the local economy.

At the same time he called for an extension of the furlough scheme across the islands, warning that they are entering a “complicated period of hardship”.

All sectors as well as trade unions “must remain firm and united” to move out of the crisis as part of a debate on future strategies for the recovery of the sector.

Negueruela emphasised the necessity to reposition the islands as a safe tourism destination through initiatives such as a test project launched in June to bring visitors back to the Balearic Islands in a controlled and safe way.

Transport minister Marc Pons emphasised the development of sustainable transport solutions in the Balearic Islands as a fundamental part of the recovery strategy for the tourism sector requiring an investment of €478 million over the next ten years.

This includes new road transport services in Majorca and a renovated fleet of environmentally friendly buses, as well as improved timetables with better frequencies, which should be operational from January.

Other initiatives for Majorca include improved rail connections; with direct links from the Palma airport to some of the main tourism areas on the island.