If you were forced to put travel plans to visit Spain on pause, it’s time to brush up on your Spanish lessons and think about a vacation.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has announced that travelers from anywhere in the world who are vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to enter the country beginning June 7.
On May 24, Spain will relax conditions for non-EU countries considered a low infection risk — and allow them to enter without a negative PCR test. Britain, Australia, and Israel are among those countries.
“They’re welcome — more than welcome — without restrictions nor health controls,” Sanchez told reporters, a Reuters article reports.
A Vacation Hotspot
Spain is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations – pulling tens of millions of visitors each year. In 2019, 18 million people from Britain alone traveled to Spain, an Associated Press article notes.
It’s easy to understand why. After all, some of Europe’s best beach resorts are in Spain, as are mountains. Spain also has numerous cultural and historic cities — including Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona.
However, Spain was also hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, there have been at least 3.6 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in Spain, according to the Spanish Ministry of Health. As of Friday morning, 79,601 people had died.
It is estimated that 7.7 million people in Spain are vaccinated — or a little over 16 percent.
To slow the spread of infection, Spain underwent one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns last spring. The country reopened to visitors over the summer — only to enter a state of emergency last November.
The impact on the tourism industry was catastrophic. Indeed, foreign tourism in Spain fell 80 percent last year due to lockdowns and travel restrictions, the Reuters article reports.
A Summer Reopening
Earlier this week, Spain’s Deputy Minister for Tourism Fernando Valdés told the Associated Press that because new cases of COVID-19 are falling while other countries are accelerating their vaccination rates, Spain plans to drop travel restrictions early next month. Then, however, European Parliament lawmakers reached a long-awaited deal for COVID-19 digital certificates to be used as a means to open tourism across the 27-member EU.
The next day, Prime Minister Sanchez announced that travelers from anywhere in the world who are vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to enter the country beginning June 7.
While making the announcement, Sanchez said he believes the change will allow Spain’s tourism level to reach approximately 70 percent of its pre-pandemic level by the end of the year, Reuters reports. This summer, he expects Spain will welcome between 30 percent and 40 percent of its 2019 summer tourism level.
Know Before You Go
Spain may be reopening to tourists this summer, but it’s not there yet. In fact, due to COVID-19 Spanish travel restrictions, U.S. citizens cannot enter Spain unless they meet very specific requirements or have already obtained special permission from the Government of Spain. Its embassy explains that “if you travel to Spain and are not admitted, you will be placed in immigration detention for up to several days, until a flight on the same airline becomes available to take you back to your point of origin.”
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