For questions about the PCR test on arrival and the Canarian requirement for test at accommodation, please see the post HERE.
As I’ve said HERE, Spain requires a PCR test for all international arrivals at any port or airport in the country. Since the Canaries are in Spain that applies to arrivals here too, but the Canarian Government has its own law in addition, requiring a negative covid test to be presented by anyone using regulated tourism accomodation like hotels and legal apartments. The regional tourism law, however, doesn’t demand a PCR test specifically – hotels can request an antigen test instead, something that is apparently easier and cheaper for tourists to source.
A huge, unfounded, and quite insane fuss has been generated recently after the Canarian Government announced that they had asked Spain to allow visitors to the Canaries to pass ports and airports with the same antigen test required for accommodation. They were hoping to help tourism by relaxing the requirement to bring the more costly PCR test. Instantly, however, the media and especially social media went nuts, there’s no other way to put it, and in an utterly mad trampling on reality started announcing that the antigen test had been approved for visitors here, that it was now a fact that tourists just had to bring an antigen test.
This has caused no end of confusion and trouble because it was not true. All that had happened was that Canarian President Ángel Torres had asked the national Government for antigen tests to be allowed following pressure from the hotel associations and other tourism-related businesses to “do something” … what he should do, given that he had no devolved powers over border control, was unstated, but he must do “something”. What he did was introduce the antigen test for tourist accommodation, an area where he had devolved power, and announce that he’d asked for antigen tests to be permitted at borders, an area where he does not have devolved power. This was not an announcement made to encourage tourists, or confuse them, but to satisfy criticism and reduce pressure in political tourism circles here in the Canaries. He said he wanted an answer by today, and got it yesterday: it’s “no”.
Spanish tourism minister Reyes Maroto said that the national Government wasn’t against the idea in principle but it had to be part of an EU-wide approved scheme with set criteria, in place throughout the bloc, and that there would be no interregional variation within Spain that allowed a different test to be demanded for entry into the Canaries. So, only a PCR test is allowed. It’s all that was ever allowed. And if that situation changes it will need more than a simple approval by the national Government. The Canaries will not be able to go it alone with the antigen test.