The countdown is on!
Your dreams of a sunny holiday to Spain may come true as early as this month, if UK lockdown restrictions allow it to be put on the travel “green list”. Spain’s tourism minister Maria Reyes Maroto spoke on Wednesday (May 12), outlining the launch of an €8m campaign to restart tourism in the country. She urged tourists to come and “enjoy a perfect holiday after the worst year of our lives”, and they even aim to welcome back British tourists with no negative test upon arrival from May 20.
Earlier this year, the Prime Minister of Spain announced that the country will only start welcoming international travellers again once 70% of its citizens have been vaccinated, making holiday plans seem rather distant for Brits. However, based on Britain’s reduced numbers in cases, the option of no test on arrival is now being considered.
Currently, entry to Spain and its islands requires all travellers to present a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before arrival. Even so, Spain still has travel restrictions in place for passengers arriving from the UK by air and sea. Plus, UK nationals are prohibited from travelling to Spain for non-essential reasons due to it not being on the green travel list.
“The recommendations will be reviewed in the [EU] foreign affairs council on 20 May, and that will allow us to provide certainty to markets outside the European Union when it comes to the restarting of travel – especially travel from the UK, which is our largest market,” said Maria Reyes Maroto.
“If all goes well, from 20 May – although there’s always a bit of the unknown over the evolution of the pandemic in the countries we’re focusing on with the campaign, though the numbers from the UK look good on both vaccination and accumulated incidence – Britons will be able to come to Spain. What’s more, they won’t be asked for a PCR test when they arrive in the country. I think it’s really good news.”
All this will be promising reading for keen travellers from Britain, but a lot will also depend on if or when Spain gets added to the UK’s green list. Currently, 14 countries–including Portugal, Iceland and Gibraltar–are on the green list ahead of travel’s cautious reintroduction on May 17. The UK government will continue to assess the situation of countries around the world for travel, using the red, amber, green lists.
Spain and its islands are the most popular holiday destination for those living in the UK, but 2020 was the worst-ever year for tourism in the Balearic Islands with just 1.67 million tourists visiting. It saw a dramatic drop of 87.4 % between January and October, compared to the same period in 2019 when over 18 million tourists jetted off to the country’s resorts.
As well as a greater possibility of Spain having more visitors this year (and us hopefully getting to escape the four walls that we have seen for the past 12 months), the country has also seen a boom in hotel investment, in anticipation for when confidence in international travel returns.