A corona-free Mediterranean island for carefree vacation days in summer: With this offer, hotels, restaurants and politicians from many southern European countries want to finally lure tourists to their beaches and hotel bars again.
The competition between the islands is in full swing.
Much revolves around the question of who will get their residents vaccinated the fastest.
Do Greek destinations like Samos and Naxos have the edge, as some in Italy and Spain fear?
And where is Mallorca in this race?
Greece generally wants to start its summer season on May 15th.
The Italian Minister of Tourism Massimo Garavaglia named June 2nd as the target for the boot.
In Spain there is no official date for the whole country, but Mallorca was already cheering holiday jets at Easter - even if the island was not completely Corona-free.
Italy: competition for vacationers in one's own country
“We would be very happy if holidaymakers from Germany would finally come to us again,” says Capri's Mayor Marino Lembo.
“Everything is empty at the moment.
Nobody is there, not even Italian vacationers. "
The rocky island in the Gulf of Naples with 14,000 inhabitants in two places has recently caused a sensation along with other Italian islands.
Capri announced that one could quickly vaccinate all residents - and thus rush past the vaccination priority given by Rome for older age groups.
The regional presidents of the two large islands of Sardinia and Sicily - with a total of 6.6 million people - knocked directly on Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
Christian Solinas and Nello Musumeci called for a rapid vaccination passage of their islands.
They raved about the advantages of good controls in ports and airports and suggested "preferential corridors" in the holidaymakers' countries of origin.
But the headwind in the country with 60 million inhabitants was enormous.
Other holiday areas such as the Amalfi Coast or mountain regions were afraid of falling behind.
Critics pointed out that Sardinia had only recently crashed from the top position with the nationally lowest Corona numbers.
The island of noble places for the rich became the red zone.
The general reason: Many residents would have disregarded protective rules such as masks and distance in exuberance.
In addition, Sardinia and Sicily are among the worst performers in terms of vaccination rates.
Some islanders don't even want the syringes.
You hardly ever see holidaymakers on Capri at the moment.
The mayor of the island hopes that this will change with more vaccinations
Source: Getty Images / Andrea Comi
Rome had clearly rejected the plans.
"The Corona special commissioner has the topic of tourism in mind, he sees the importance.
But at the moment there are no such exceptions, ”confirms a spokesman for Commissioner Paolo Figliuolo.
Italy expects over 50 million vaccine doses in the second quarter.
A large part should arrive “from May”.
Only then could the age priorities change.
Mayor Lembo asserts that he is following the guidelines.
On Capri you can still arrive at younger age groups earlier.
"However, the employees who come from the mainland are not yet through that far."
Greece: Islands should soon be free from Corona
The Greek government has long struggled not to have to write off this year's holiday season entirely.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was among the first to demand a uniform EU vaccination certificate.
Even if the season in Hellas is not supposed to start officially until mid-May, the first planes with German tourists landed on the holiday island of Crete at the end of March.
Athens has initiated a vaccination campaign especially for around 70 smaller islands - all residents of Samos, Naxos, Rhodes, Skopelos, Kos and Corfu have received a vaccination offer.
The islands should be virtually corona-free by mid-May.
Many, if not all, residents let themselves be injected - not least because they live from tourism.
Crete with around 630,000 inhabitants is not one of them.
The dependence on the travel business is also one of the reasons why there is no debate about envy about foreign holidaymakers in Greece.
And that although the Greeks themselves are currently prohibited from traveling in their own country due to Corona.
When entering the country, on the other hand, the one-week quarantine that they previously had to go to no longer applies to visitors from abroad.
Prerequisite: a negative PCR test or a fully completed vaccination.
Spain: Hotels in Mallorca fear disadvantages
Despite the Easter vacationers, there is fear in Mallorca: hoteliers, restaurateurs and traders fear that the Germans' favorite island could lose out in the competition against Crete, Turkey, Croatia and other countries.
The reason: The left-wing governments in Palma and Madrid have so far refused to focus on the needs of the tourism industry either in their vaccination strategy or in their easing plans.
“We are being left in the lurch.
If there are a lot of problems and few tourists in the summer, then good night, ”says Joan.
The operator of a souvenir shop on Playa de Palma thinks with horror of the crisis last year.
Like all of Mallorca, the Ballermann has been drained for months due to a nocturnal exit ban and a curfew from 5 p.m.
And it should stay that way for the time being.
“We're going to be very slow with the easing,” affirmed Regional President Francina Armengol.
The entrepreneurs of the Balearic Islands demand that after the vaccination of the risk groups, economic factors are taken into account in the sequence.
Employees in the tourism industry should be given priority regardless of age.
They argue that competitive targets in Italy, Greece, Croatia and Turkey, for example, would be better supported in vaccinating.
The state secretary for health of the central government, Silvia Calzón, rejected the request for changed vaccination plans during a visit to a clinic in Mallorca.
She spoke of "strict ethical principles".
The deputy boss of the hotel association FEHM, María José Aguiló, however, said: "This is just an excuse." She made it clear: "Nobody demands an immoral procedure in which people at risk are ignored." You just want those people to be vaccinated quickly who are exposed to a large number of customer contacts on the job.
More sustainable travel to Corona?
An interview with Daniel Rieger, Head of Transport Policy at NABU, Prof. Dr.
Harald Zeiss, founder and managing director of the Institute for Sustainable Tourism at the Harz University of Applied Sciences, Ingo Lies, Founder & Managing Director of Chamäleon Reisen and Thomas Ellerbeck, TUI Group, moderated by Christina Brause, Managing Editor Investigation & Reportage at WELT AM SONNTAG.