Covid-19 testing for cruise passengers in the Canary Islands this winter

Published on September 10, 2020
Canary IslandsNews from Canary Islands
cruise canary islands winter
The authorities hope that the winter season for cruise ships in the Canary Islands will recover

The Canary Islands Government has announced that there will be a winter season for cruise ships in the Canary Islands, although they will require cruise shipping companies to carry out PCR tests or serological tests on all travelers before arriving in the archipelago.

Several companies specializing in this type of tourism have been interested in cruising exclusively on the Canary Island circuit during the winter season, which is expected to start at the end of October or the beginning of November.

The presidents of the port authorities of Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife,  have committed to communicating the health protocol established by the Canary Islands Government to the interested shipping companies so that they can put it into practice on their cruises.

Once these companies confirm to the Canarian ports that they follow these sanitary requirements, the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Housing will ask the central government to authorize this type of economic activity in the islands, so the Canary Islands would be the first autonomous community in Spain in having a tourist offer of cruises after the total stop of this activity in March.

"For the Government of the Canary Islands it is essential to recover this type of tourism because it is a very necessary economic activity at the moment for the Archipelago, and we want to recover it with all the health requirements," explained the Minister Franquis, "there are not many markets in the season winter cruises in Europe and for the government, it is essential to recover the winter tourism, not only by air transport but also by maritime transport (...) Therefore, we are making every effort to ensure that between October and November cruise tourism begins to recover normally”.

What will be the requirements for cruise ships arriving in the Canary Islands during the 2020/2021 winter season?

Mandatory Covid-19 insurance for the cruise companies

Among the measures included in the health protocol of the Government of the Canary Islands is the requirement that cruise companies acquire insurance that covers all the expenses of cruise passengers that may be infected by COVID-19 in order to guarantee both the safety of the residents of the islands and the occupants of these boats. This insurance would cover all the expenses derived from an incidence by coronavirus among travelers, such as repatriation, medical expenses and stays in quarantine.

Covid-19 testing of all passengers carried out by the cruise companies

Another of the control measures set by the Government of the Canary Islands is to require shipping companies to give all travelers a diagnostic test (PCR or serological test) before arriving in the Canary Islands that shows that they are negative for coronavirus.

Passengers will need to complete a form

Cruise passengers must fill out a form that includes all their movements of the last 15 days before arriving in the Canary Islands to follow up in case of an incident, and confirm if they have had any contact with people positive for coronavirus or if they themselves have tested positive in a recent diagnostic test.

A maximum of 60 - 70% occupancy on cruise ships

For their part, the cruise companies undertake that their ships do not exceed 60 or 70% of their capacity, that they expand their health staff on board, clean and disinfect the ships after each trip, and that they will establish a protocol of tracking the ships every time they dock in a port on the Islands.

The Canarian government has also informed the port authorities that this tourist activity will only be allowed to European companies since the health protocols established by the EU are among the most demanding in the world. In this sense, around five European cruise tourism companies have already been interested in the Canarian winter circuit.

The TUI company is the first that has already shown interest in starting cruises at the end of October after the state authorizes this activity again. Only with TUI operating this season, the Canarian ports would be receiving an average of 1,300 tourists every week.

Source: Gobierno de Canarias

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