British tourism is “essential” to the Balearics, the islands’ minister of tourism  said today as he highlighted the importance of the sector on the local economy.

Iago Negueruela said it was vital that access to the Spanish archipelago was restored to allow the islands’ tourism industry to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Negueruela pointed out that “British tourism is essential” to the area, noting thaat the Balearics were the second most visited region in Spain for British travellers in 2019, and tourism accounting for 35% of the islands’ GDP.

Speaking at this year’s virtual World Travel Market, he said private and public sectors had collaborated to get ready for a “hugely important 2021 season”, adding: “We have every faith in a recovery for the British market, which is so important to our islands.”

Negueruela added that each island is developing its own strategy to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, but “in institutional collaboration we are united at a time when health and healthcare choices are at the forefront of people’s daily lives.”

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have focused our efforts on safety, as well as seeking agreements for regulated international tourist transit under a special health regime, to resume the flow of tourists between the United Kingdom and the Balearic Islands,” he added. “Access to the Balearic Islands needs to be restored so that the tourism industry can recover.”

Meanwhile, sustainability and eco-tourism remain key focuses for the Balearics ahead of the 2021 season.

Susana Mora, president and minister of tourism promotion in Menorca said: “We understand that sustainability is to be applied across the board in every decision we make and must continue to do so in the future.”

The archipelago will also ban the sale of single-use plastics by March 2021.