The Spanish government has announced a green light for foreign visitors and tourists to come to Spain from June, with a pilot of the EU´s green digital certificate passport scheme.
The Tourism Minister, Fernando Valdes Verelst, outlined Spain´s plans at the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit in Mexico saying that all 46 of the AEANA airports in Spain will be open by that date .
“The European Union digital certificate is not a magic wand but it does offer people some certainty to organize their travel,” he said.
“The best thing Governments can do right is provide for travelers is certainty,” said Minister Valdes Verelst, who hopes negotiations will lead to reciprocal arrangements so that tourists don’t face restrictions when they get home.
Spain has been at the forefront of the European vaccine passport plan as the country relies heavily on the tourist sector which represents some 14% of GDP.
The pandemic and subsequent travel freeze has caused enormous damage to the industry with widespread business closures and job losses which have yet to recover from the catastrophic fall in tourist numbers since March 2020.
“Spain is going to be ready to use a digital certificate in June,” said Valdes to delegates. “We are running a pilot programme at all 46 airports in May, so travellers will have some certainty”.
The EU’s Digital Green Certificate will include Covid-19 health status with vaccination certificates, negative test results and medical certificates for people who have recovered from Covid-19 in the previous 180 days.
With Brexit the UK is outside the scope of the scheme but British Tourism Minister, Nigel Huddleston, said the UK Government is liaising with other countries in a bid to agree international travel measures and other issues.
“We absolutely want to work, and are working very closely, with our EU partners and indeed around the world,” he said.
The UK is Spain´s largest tourist market with some 18 million Britons visiting the country in 2019.
Delegates in Cancun also welcomed the statement by the EU Commisioner, Ursula Van der Leyen that the EU hopes to allow vaccinated Americans to visit by this summer, although Brussels and the UK have yet to agree on mutual recognition of vaccine passports.