The recent decision of the European Union for the introduction of the vaccine passport scheme as well as the UK´s new “traffic light” system for travel has the Spanish tourist sector optimistic of a busy summer.
In addition the recent comments of the EU commisioner, Ursula von der Leyen, hinting at a reciprocal travel agreement with the United States could mean a resumption of tourist travel to Spain in the next few months.
UK visitors to Spain will need to wait longer than the 17th May, which is the date when the UK government lifts its ban on non-essential travel.
The announcement by the UK’s Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, last week of the” travel traffic light”system has neighbouring Portugal (including Madeira and Azores) and Gibraltar on the “green list,” while Spain is waiting on “amber” – it is expected that the next announcement on the updated list will be on the 7th June.
The border between Spain and Portugal was opened on 1st May and the border between Gibraltar and Spain is also open.
For the moment being on the amber list means that only essential travel is allowed between the UK and Spain.
However industry chiefs are hopeful that with the pandemic receeding in Spain and the growing number of vaccinated people, the country will be open to most of its key markets by the summer.
In 2019 the tourist sector accounted for 14% of Spain´s GDP and the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on tourist numbers and income.
With 18 million visitors in 2019 the UK is Spain´s biggest travel market followed by France and Germany.
Yesterday 10th May, the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, said that he expected the present immunisation rate of 12% of the population to have reached the 70% threshold for herd immunity “within 100 days.”
“We are starting to overcome this calamity,” he said on a visit to Greece and three days after the end of the state of alarm in Spain.
The latest government Covid infection rate figures for Spain show a downward trend to 188 per 100,000 inhabitants, with wide variations in infection rates with the Basque Country and Madrid at the highest end with 401 and 302 compared to Valencia on 36, Murcia on 67 and Balearics on 58 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.