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CORONAVIRUS – Spain, the second largest tourist destination in the world, reopens its doors and its beaches on Monday, June 7 to tourists from around the world vaccinated in the hope of reviving a key sector of its economy, devastated by the pandemic linked to Covid-19 .
The major downside is that the country is still considered at risk by the United Kingdom, which imposes a quarantine on return to its nationals, which will dissuade them from coming to enjoy the Spanish sun.
“Spain is a safe destination,” said Health Minister Carolina Darias, saying the country was “on track to regain its global tourism leadership” as it saw arrivals plummet by 77% in 2020 after welcoming 83.5 million visitors in 2019.
Planes and cruises
Another relaxation intended to revive tourism, unvaccinated Europeans, who already had the right to come but had to present a negative PCR of less than 72 hours, will now be able to be satisfied with an antigen test, much cheaper.
For professionals in the sector, this day should mark the great return of foreign tourists. José Luis Prieto, president of the Union of Travel Agencies (Unav), thus begins to believe in a “spectacular recovery on Monday”.
According to him, tour operators have noted “a great demand for information over the past three weeks in Great Britain, France or Germany, the top three markets” for the Spanish tourism sector.
From the Costa del Sol (south) to the Balearic Islands or the Canaries, hotels and restaurants have reopened after months of closure, getting a makeover for some while airlines have resumed flights to some destinations.
Malaga airport, the most important in the whole of Andalusia (south), will see no less than twenty international flights land for the morning of Monday alone, from among others Berlin, Lille, Frankfurt, Dublin or London. …
The British “disappointment”
“Disappointed” for the Spanish Minister of Health, the United Kingdom last week left Spain on the list of countries at risk, requiring its nationals to pass several paid tests and to observe a dissuasive quarantine of at at least five days on their return.
Since May 24, Spain had nevertheless extended its arms to British tourists, the first contingent in normal times (18 million in 2019), again authorized to enter the country, without even having to present a PCR test. Nationals of a few other countries, such as China or Japan, are also exempt from all restrictions.
Spanish Tourism Minister Maria Reyes Maroto explained on Friday “not understanding the decision” of the United Kingdom not to have agreed to put in its “green list” certain Spanish tourist regions such as the Balearic Islands or the Canaries where the rate of incidence is lower.
London will only reconsider its decision in three weeks, precious wasted weeks that could call into question the Spanish government’s goal of attracting 45 million visitors this year.
From Monday, Spain will also re-allow cruise ships to dock in its ports. Cruise line MSC Cruises has announced that one of its ships will leave Barcelona on June 26 and the port of Valencia will receive a first TUI Cruises boat on June 27.
Very dependent on tourism, the Spanish economy was in 2020 one of the western economies hardest hit by the pandemic, with a drop of 10.8% of its GDP.
See also on The HuffPost: Joe Biden promises free beers if 70% of the population is vaccinated before National Day
Source: Le Huffington Post by www.huffingtonpost.fr.
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