Main Scandinavian tour operator starts holidays to Canaries again on Saturday
The Minister of Tourism of the Canary Islands, Yaiza Castilla, held a telematic meeting this morning (Monday) with the CEO of the main Scandinavian tour operator, Nordic Leisure Travel Group, Magnus Wikner, and his management team where they confirmed the resumption of its operations with the archipelago starting this Saturday, October 24th.
The tour operator, who is responsible for the operations of Ving, Tjaereborg and Spies, showed its confidence in the Canary Islands as the “only viable option” for winter sun and beach holidays, stating that flights will initially resume on Saturday from Sweden with four weekly flights, one to Tenerife and three to Gran Canaria, as reported by the Canary Islands Government in an official press release.
In addition, they said foresee, since the restrictions on travel to Spain in Denmark are lifted, activating five weekly flights with the Canary Islands, four to Gran Canaria and one to Tenerife, operations that they hope to resume if, as planned, Denmark applies its warnings and consequent quarantines by region and not by country.
Regarding tourist flows with Finland and Norway, they do not believe that the connections with these markets and the Canary Islands will be restored before January, due to the restrictions of these countries as they don’t distinguish by regions of incidence of the coronavirus, which "hurts the Canary Islands, as they differ massively from the data of contagion than the rest of the national territory.”
Likewise, Magnus Wilker showed his appreciation for the positive evolution that the Canary Islands have shown in containing the pandemic, with an incidence rate today of less than 35 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days and 76 cases over 14 days, saying that what they indicate "reinforces the motion of the Nordic countries to separate the islands from the rest of the country when making decisions about travel, something that this group is pushing to different governments."
For her part, Yaiza Castilla highlighted at the end of the meeting that "the advances, although small, are still being achieved for the establishment of tourist flows with the traditional issuing countries," pleased they said that the archipelago is "the perfect destination" or the "only one in the middle distance for winter sun and beach vacations" because, she said, competing destinations are "all long-distance and their epidemiological situation, as well as their health systems do not generate the same confidence with Europeans at the moment.”
Regarding the testing of tourists, Turismo de Canarias and Nordic Leisure Travel Group have agreed to carry out antigen tests 48 hours before tourists’ departure from their country, in a random and voluntary manner, for which formulas are being studied to help with this expense, which, according to the group, has a cost in Sweden of about 50 euros.
The tour operator indicated that they do not consider it necessary to carry out the test when leaving the Canary Islands, since “at the moment Sweden does not ask for it, neither at origin, and it may affect the demand that sees with fear the option of possible quarantine in the islands.”
Nordic Leisure Travel Group was born last year after buying the Nordic part of the Thomas Cook and is currently the main tour operator in the area, its main brands being Ving, Spies and Tjäreborg, as well as the charter airline Sunclass Airlines which was formerly Thomas Cook Scandinavia.
Finally, they point out that in a survey carried out among the Scandinavian population by them, 64% said that they wanted to travel in the next six months, although it is conditional on flexibility in booking, as well as the security and confidence measures that the destination has.
Wikner admitted that "although the demand for travel in general is very weak" to any destination in the world, they are convinced that there will be a demand for travel from the Nordics to sun and beach destinations with safety conditions and European sanitary standards for the next few months.
For this reason, they plan to move 179,000 tourists from the four Nordic countries between now and March 2021, which would imply 50% less than what they had planned before the outbreak of the pandemic.