The countdown is on!
Your dreams of a sunny holiday abroad may come true as early as May if UK lockdown restrictions allow non-essential travel by then. As Spain’s tourism minister Maria Reyes Maroto told Antena 3 TV earlier today, the country is considering the introduction of COVID-19 vaccine passports in the coming months, allowing tourists to return for vacation if they meet the safety requirements.
Entry to Spain and its islands requires all travellers to present a negative Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours before arrival. Currently, though, Spain has travel restrictions in place for passengers arriving from the UK by air and sea, while UK nationals are prohibited from travelling for leisure entirely.
At the end of 2020, in a bid to boost visitor numbers after the devastating effects of travel restrictions during the pandemic, Spanish tourism authorities launched a huge drive to lure us wanderlusters back to the country – and to reassure travellers it’s safe to visit.
The Travel Safe campaign, which has cost around €2million, is aiming to encourage visitors back to the popular holiday destination and welcoming the first visitors without restrictions in the near future, with the Balearic Islands expected to be the first to welcome restriction-free travel.
Travel Safe will be a dedicated section – updated daily – on the spain.info website containing measures from individual regions, including restaurant capacities and leisure deals. The Turespaña strategy – a huge marketing push aimed at increasing tourism – will continue while coronavirus restrictions remain. It has already been welcomed by various popular tourist destinations, including the Balearic Islands of Majorca, Ibiza and Menorca.
Balearic tourism minister, Iago Negueruela told local media: “First of all, however, there is the task of positioning, selling and explaining to the world that the islands are a safe destination.”
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 of when confidence in international travel returns.