Sunday, June 13

Spain aims to receive British tourists without Covid tests from May 20 | Spain

Spain aims to welcome British tourists without the need for a negative Covid test from May 20, confirmed the country’s Tourism Minister, who urged foreign visitors to come and “enjoy a perfect holiday after the worst year of our lives ”.

Speaking on Wednesday at the launch of an 8 million euro campaign to attract return visitors, María Reyes Maroto said Spain was opening up again and was particularly interested in the return of tourists from the UK.

The minister said there were two security systems to ensure the health of visitors: the EU green digital certificate, which from June will show if the holder has been recently vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid, and the next update of the EU recommendations on essential travel from countries outside the bloc.

“Recommendations will be reviewed in the [EU] Foreign Affairs Council on May 20, and that will allow us to provide certainty to markets outside the European Union when it comes to restarting travel, especially travel from the United Kingdom, which is our largest market, ”said Reyes Maroto. .

“If all goes well, as of May 20, although there is always a little unknown about the evolution of the pandemic in the countries in which we focus with the campaign, although the figures from the United Kingdom seem good both in vaccination as in cumulative incidence – The British will be able to come to Spain. Also, they will not be asked for a CRP test when they arrive in the country. I think this is very good news. “

However, much will depend on whether the UK government places Spain on the green list of countries that the British will be able to visit from May 17. At the moment, Spain is in the amber category, which means those returning to the UK You will have to quarantine yourself for 10 days and run two Covid tests.

Reyes Maroto said that Spain, which depends on tourism for about 12% of its GDP, would not pay the bill for visitor testing as the huge sums involved would be better spent elsewhere.

She pointed out that Spain received 83.5 million tourists in 2019, adding: “We hope to get at least half this year. If we are lucky, we will get even more, which would mean paying for PCR tests for 45 million international tourists. We would have to think about whether public money would be better spent on other things. “

The minister has also pointed out that Spain’s vaccination program is accelerating. To date, more than 14 million of the country’s 47 million people have received a single injection, while more than 6.3 million have received both doses of the vaccine.

“If all goes well, we could vaccinate 70% of the population even before the end of the summer, which would be great news for all of us because we have to start leaving the pandemic behind, especially the tourism sector, which has been closed. for 14 months despite enormous efforts to reinvent itself, “he said.

However, despite optimism and the continuing decline in the national infection rate, some regions of Spain continue to report significantly more cases per 100,000 people than others.

In all of Spain, the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants stands at 180; in the Community of Madrid it is 291 and in the Basque Country 387.

Reyes Maroto joined Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya in lamenting the “freedom” slogans used by Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the recently re-elected conservative president of the Madrid region, during her campaign.

González Laya said that Ayuso’s focus on the importance of “going for a beer or going to see a bullfight” was distract people fighting the pandemic and helping to keep Spain off the UK green list. When Spain’s six-month state of emergency ended on Sunday, thousands of people took to the streets for impromptu celebrations that were criticized by politicians and medical experts.

“The comments that Ayuso made in the campaign about freedom and being able to do anything in Madrid do not help, and they do not help raise awareness,” Reyes Maroto said.

“But it is not just Madrid; there are other regions that need to reduce the number of cases. Madrid explains many of the cases, but in any case, everyone in Spain, including Madrilenians, must be aware that freedom is not the same as recklessness and that we must respect safety regulations ”.

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