CANARY ISLANDS FREE COVID-19 INSURANCE
Canary Islands offer free Covid-19 insurance in bid to kick-start travel
The Canary Islands have taken out a broad "travel assistance policy" that will cover visitors for incidents related to Covid-19, including any need to extend stays due to quarantine."There is no cost to travellers and all are automatically covered," a spokesperson for the Spanish Tourist Office in Dublin said.The policy has been agreed between insurance company AXA and the islands' Department of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, and will cover both Spanish and foreign visitors provided they are staying at regulated tourist accommodation - and not, for example, with friends, the Office clarified.It means that should tourists test positive for Covid-19 while holidaying on the Canaries, their medical expenses and any health repatriation and extended stays due to quarantine (which is mandatory for positive results on the islands) will be covered.
The policy comes into force this week and will initially last for twelve months - it will not cover cases of Covid-19 known prior to travel, however.It comes as the Canary Islands battle to reboot a devastated tourist industry, having implemented a wide range of health and safety protocols in a bid for recognition as a safe holiday destination.The move follows a similar step by Emirates, which is now offering passengers free cover for Covid-19-related expenses if they test positive while travelling and away from home.The policy, with no registration necessary, provides up to €150,000 in health expenses and quarantine costs of €100 per day for 14 days.The cover is effective until October 31, 2020, and is valid for 31 days from the moment they fly the first sector of their journey, the airline says.
Visit Portugal has also advertised a 'Portugal Travel Insurance' product, designed to offer "complete reassurance" during the pandemic.It starts from €37.20, and cover includes refunds for flight cancellation or interruption and unlimited access to a tourist assistance service.Neither Portugal, Spain nor Dubai are on Ireland's 'green list', of course - and the Government continues to advise against non-essential travel to those places.The Canaries have kept a relatively low Covid-19 caseload (Lanzarote has so far reported just 97 total cases, for example), however, and Spanish authorities have lobbied to have them included on the 'green list' in future.No countries or regions were added in the first update to the list this week - in fact, five destinations including Malta and Cyprus were removed, leaving some Irish holidaymakers scrambling for alternative flights home.By now, Irish consumers have largely written off overseas trips in 2020, the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) said today."The Association believes that the addition or removal of countries to the list is immaterial, as many consumers are choosing not to travel abroad for the remainder of 2020, postponing their travel arrangements until next year."Outbound travel is down by 98pc since March, the ITAA says.