The Spanish tourism sector, which has been struggling to recover from the pandemic enduced contraction, is hopeful that the UK”s expected easing of Covid travel restrictions will bring a much needed boost to the sector.
The UK is Spain’s largest tourist market, with some 18 million visitors in 2019 but which plummeted in 2020 to just over 3 million visitors.
The UK’s Transport Secretary announced the new international travel rules last week, following intense lobbying from business and travel associations to replace the “traffic light” system which was widely seen to be expensive, cumbersome and ineffective.
The new rules will be “simpler” and allow “more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry”.
The expected date for the new rules coming into force will be the 4th October, when there will be a two-tier system, for “red list” countries and “open list” countries being the rest of the world.
Fully vaccinated arrivals from Spain and other “open list” countries will no longer have to take a Covid-19 test before travelling and though they still need to still take a Day 2 test, this can be the cheaper lateral flow one rather than the more expensive PCR test that presently needs to be booked and paid for before travel.
Given that Spain’s infection are has been steadily falling and is now below that of the UK, there is widespread hope that this will mean that both UK travellers to Spain as well as Spanish travel to the UK can rebound.
The new regulations apply to travel to and from England as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set their own rules for travellers.
However it is expected they will follow suit.