Gibraltar has so far weathered the Covid-19 pandemic as a safe tourist destination following the relaxation of lockdown measures, a marketing campaign in Spain, and an increase in flights from the UK which saw an uptick of visitors. However, the tourism sector remains cautious in the knowledge that 2020 will be a tough year.
The Rock of Gibraltar continues to be a popular tourist destination par excellence and has continued in this way despite the havoc that the pandemic has caused across the globe. After a harsh few months of lockdown, the careful reopening of activity and a return to the “new normal”, data is showing that the rate of infections remains at manageable levels, although there has been an increase in the past few weeks.
ReachExtra spoke to the Government of Gibraltar, who explained that Gibraltar is a safe destination, and this has always been a major deciding factor for tourists, and said that now more than ever, a higher focus is being placed on ensuring that tourists feel safe during the pandemic.
After lockdown ended and measures began to relax, Gibraltar has registered a rise in visitors which the Government attributes to the marketing campaign in Spain and an increase in flights from the UK. Of course, this increase does not measure up with the numbers seen in other years.
“The Gibraltar Tourist Board has made a continuous efforts to ensure that vital assets have been improved and that the travel industry has remained well informed about the great attractions that Gibraltar has to offer,” number 6 Convent Place told ReachExtra.
The Government also highlighted the fact the Gibraltar Tourist Board is very active on social media, “we publish content several times a day, and with very high engagement, to keep Gibraltar in the minds of people, so we’ve been on the right track and have been high on people’s bucket lists as travel restrictions began to ease.”
Despite efforts, the Government has taken a realistic approach and has recognised that businesses in the tourism industry remain cautious, “because 2020 is likely to be a very difficult year.”
And, although there is no data available yet, the influx of tourists in the Rock is considerably lower than in previous summers due to the pandemic, something that is also happening worldwide.
Gibraltar in a Covid-19 World
Gibraltar is open to tourists of all nationalities and the attractions are also open, with social distancing and security measures required.
Visitors will also need to be residents of the EU, with travel documents at hand, to cross the frontier and enter the Rock.
All hotels are open and there is no need to quarantine when arriving in Gibraltar or when returning to the UK from the Rock if you have not been to Spain in the 14 days before departure.
All tourist attractions are also open, such as the Nature Reserve and Upper Rock, of course, with security protocols for visitors.
Those entering Upper Rock must wear a mask at all times. In addition, visitors are provided with hand sanitizer gel at each entrance that must be used before entering and leaving. The opening hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m., the last entry is at 6:45 p.m. As for the opening hours of the Skywalk it is from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. until September.
Guide to security measures
The Government has a complete guide to inform tourists about the measures that have been implemented and will be adopted so that they feel safe when visiting the Rock. Thus, in stores and public areas, masks are mandatory. This affects stores, restaurants, banks, car dealerships or clinics. The use of a mask is also mandatory in public transport. The bus operates with a capacity of 75%.
Also, additional disinfection and cleaning is carried out in all areas, and social distancing is mandatory.
As for bars and restaurants, tables must be separated by a minimum of two meters, all staff must wear masks and the capacity of restaurants is limited to 50%. Restaurant reservations must be made in advance. These establishments will close at the latest at two in the morning.
Regarding the beaches, group meetings should not exceed 20 people and it is advisable to maintain social distancing and good hygiene practices.
The arrival of cruise ships is currently not allowed, aside than for technical stopovers. Regarding pleasure boats, there is a wide decalogue of measures that can be consulted at https://www.visitgibraltar.gi/covid-19