2020/07/10 08:46:30 Written by Canarian Weekly National

"We are waiting for visitors with our masks on, but with our arms open!"

The Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, who is in the Canary Islands to present the Islands as a safe destination, yesterday defended health security for tourism in the Islands and predicted that if there is an outbreak of coronavirus "it will not be as strong as they are expecting."

In his speech at the Canary Islands Parliament, he stressed that the Canary Islands "is an open and safe destination", and congratulated the regional government for the security protocols that exist in airports when a tourist arrives, "because there are no barriers, or complicated procedures."

He pointed out that they have followed "all the steps, one by one", that all tourists must pass in the Islands, such as the use of masks, hand gels, and temperature controls, and there is nothing to make visitors nervous or uncomfortable to be here.

Pololikashvili insisted that the Canary Islands have to "open up" to international tourism, because the experience of travelling here is "very positive" and the Canary Islands Government's roadmap can be exported to other countries "who don't know what to do".

He continued by saying "I am not a madman, I have a family, and before coming to the Canary Islands I travelled to three Italian cities, Rome, Milan and Venice, and now is the best time to visit them, as before the pandemic people complained about overcrowding, so take advantage and visit now, they are ready."

Finally, he asked governments to help inject liquidity into the private tourism sector, since it is the "most affected" by the coronavirus crisis.

The Speaker of the House, Gustavo Matos, also spoke, saying that the health security of the Canary Islands is the "identity card" and "a good sign" for tourists.

"Travellers feel safe in the Canary Islands," he said, stressing that healthcare gave an answer "at the height" of the demands of the coronavirus and the pandemic "is not without control", as it still happens in other places on the planet.

Matos believes that it is human nature to be "curious and want to continue travelling, because it is in our DNA", but everyone wants to do it "in safety".
"We wait for them with masks on, but with our arms open."
Along these lines, he insisted that Canarian tourism is ready to restart, but "like an ocean liner, it needs time to pick up speed again."