Spain’s Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto announced on Friday that citizens will be able to travel normally this summer, at least within the country. “The Spaniards can start planning their vacations,” she said in an interview with Spanish TV channel La Sexta. Maroto added that she expects more visitors to arrive this summer than last year, when coronavirus-related travel restrictions took a heavy toll on the tourism industry.
“Realistically and cautiously, we are talking about being at half the volume of 2019, which is supported by the forecast of [Spanish Business Confederation] CEOE and [tourism lobby] Exceltur, ”said Maroto.
There are already families planning their trips, whether to their second home or a favorite vacation destination.
Minister of Tourism Reyes Maroto
For these forecasts to be respected, the vaccination campaign against Covid-19 in Spain must continue at a good pace and without other setbacks. According to the latest figures, 22% of the population received at least the first dose of the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca, and 8% received the two doses necessary for full protection. The Spanish government aims to have 70% of the adult population vaccinated by the end of the summer.
“We are facing a very different summer [from last year], where we have the vaccination campaign, which is the best tool to reactivate travel and the economy, ”said Maroto. “This will ensure that we can travel safely.”
According to Maroto, some Spaniards have started to make hotel reservations. “There are already families planning their trips, whether it’s to their second home or a favorite vacation destination. We will take steps to build confidence and to be able to travel safely, ”she said.
Maroto added that restrictions on travel to Spain would begin to be lifted on May 9, when the state of alarm is expected to end. “This is good news as we are starting to see the end of the tunnel,” she said.
For six months, the state of alert has allowed the regions – which are in charge of the vaccination campaign as well as the control of the pandemic in their territories – to introduce coronavirus restrictions on fundamental rights, such as movement. . Once this emergency is over, however, regional governments will still have the power to close the perimeter of their regions as well as lock down provinces, municipalities and even neighborhoods under the 1986 Public Health Act, according to legal experts.
Regarding the European Union’s ‘digital green certificate’, which allows EU citizens to enter Spain without having to quarantine or take a coronavirus test, Maroto said the measure should be available at from mid-June. Designed to facilitate movement, the certificate is a digital and physical document, with a QR code that will allow the authorities of a country to verify three different pieces of information: if the carrier has been vaccinated, if he has had the coronavirus and if he he has had a test of them which confirms that they are not currently infected with the virus. “It is an instrument to regain the international mobility that Spain needs to reactivate the sector,” explained Maroto.
The Minister of Tourism also announced that trips for the elderly organized by the public service agency Imserso will resume in October. “Almost all older people are vaccinated and as such they can start to think about a destination they want to go to. It’s our way of repaying our seniors, ”she said.
Maroto added that overnight stays fell 54% in March compared to figures for the same month in 2020. This is far less than the nearly 90% drops seen in previous months. But the drop is also due to the fact that from mid-March last year Spain was under lockdown and all tourist accommodation was closed.
English version by Melissa Kitson.