Yesterday’s announcement from the UK government that Spain will be on the amber travel list in their traffic light system shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone aware of the guidelines set down by Boris Johnson and his cohorts.
The reality is that even though the parameters were very clear and that Spain has had over 5 months to get its act in order, the excruciatingly slow rollout of the vaccine has meant that not enough of the population has been jabbed to drive down the stats to a level where we become a low risk country open to travel without restrictions.
On the other side Portugal seems to have played a blinder and as holiday bookings to the Algarve surge today, the Spanish costas will be taking cancellation after cancellation, for May and June at least.
Ibiza’s over reliance on tourism means that along with the other holiday islands the decisions of other governments affect our economy more than other Spanish cities and provinces but this doesn’t seem to matter to those in Madrid and Barcelona (and maybe even Palma) who have other industries to fall back on.
The importance of tourism to the islands and the Spanish economy makes the slow and ponderous vaccine rollout even more bewildering. Either our elected leaders are too stupid to understand the high stakes or they are just too lazy to genuinely care. Us Balearic commentators have been calling it for a while that unless we show more urgency and a greater self survival instinct then it will be another rollercoaster summer.
Yet a Balearic government kowtowing to their Madrid leaders and colleagues have delivered us to this point with their lack of leadership and grasp of the situation while promising help to small businesses with an application process so mired in red tape that you have to be a masochist to even get involved.
All is not lost through so we shouldn’t be too downbeat and the clear objective now must be to step up the vaccination rollout in the coming weeks so that our numbers stay sufficiently low to get the UK green light at the end of June. This will signal a 4 month season that will save many islanders from bankruptcy, destitution and another winter of long food bank queues.
Contrary to popular opinion Ibiza is open now, there are plenty of non-British tourists knocking around and the weather is glorious. This is not down to our leaders but down to our beautiful island being on many’s wish list even in these difficult times. It’s clear that there’s still a big demand to come here but our leaders are currently letting us down with their lethargy. The inquest, when it comes, will be long and ugly.