With their low infection rate, the islands are being used as a laboratory for safe tourism. Joining a trial flight with the UN’s World Tourism Organization, we find Fuerteventura organised, welcoming and very clean
On Wednesday 8July, a plane with around 180 people on board left Madrid for Gran Canaria. This was not any old charter, as its “safe flight” passengers included Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary general of the UN’s World Tourism Organization; María Reyes Maroto, Spain’s minister for industry, trade, and tourism; a smattering of health workers being rewarded for their services during the Covid-19 crisis, travel PR and trade professionals, and journalists.
What made this flight safer than others? Although very much in the beta stage and yet to be made compulsory, it was a trial for the Digital Health Passport aka hi+card, which may become the blueprint for a global health passport. This is designed to ensure that travellers enter and leave destinations infection-free, by giving them a PCR test in advance, with the results sent to their phone. While the measurement of blood pressure and temperature was pretty straightforward, the nasal swabbing felt vaguely disconcerting, not unlike the new normality in fact.