In a surprise move, the Spanish government has confirmed that it is to lift restrictions for UK and Japanese travellers.
From 24 May visitors will no longer need to show a negative test and will not need to quarantine.
Pedro Sanchez, Spain’s prime minister, said:
“From May 24 Spain will be more than delighted to receive British tourists back into our country without health controls.”
“We’re not at the stage of saying to people, go to those places on holiday, in fact, please don’t.”
This flies in the face of the UK government’s stance that urges holidaymakers not to travel to any country on the amber list. And Spain is one of them.
Those that do will have to show a negative Covid test on their return into the UK. This will have to be taken within the previous 72 hours and followed by quarantine for 10 days during which time a further two PCR tests are required. At over £100 per test, a family could end up forking out several hundred pounds extra for a holiday.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says:
“It’s expensive. We’re not at the stage of saying to people, go to those places on holiday, in fact, please don’t.”
Mr Sanchez also said that vaccinated travellers from non-European countries including the US will be welcome from June.
The advice from the Foreign Office is currently warning against travel to anywhere in Spain except the Canary Islands.
Spain’s bold move illustrates how important tourism from the UK is for the Spanish economy. In pre-Pandemic times, the tourism Euro was worth a hefty 68.9 billion euros and at the time figures predicted to rise.
Unable to take the return of the British Euro for granted Spain is working hard to find a place on the coveted green list and looking for ways to ease travel requirements. New cases of coronavirus in Spain have fallen to their lowest levels since August 2020, with the Balearic and Canary Islands having achieved the lowest rate.
It may well be that other countries who are also finding a black hole in their income, may well follow suit in a bid to get a market share of the tourism spoils.
UK would be added to the list of countries that are exempt from the “essential travel only” rule currently in force for non-EU nations.
The UK will join Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Singapore, Thailand and other “low-risk” countries on the list.