Spain’s Tourism minister Reyes Maroto announced on Friday that “Spaniards can start planning their vacations.”
Speaking to television station La Sexta, Maroto said that nationals will once again be able to travel normally around the country this summer.
“Spaniards can start planning their vacations,” she said, adding that she expects Spain to see more visitors this summer than last after the Covid travel restrictions "delivered a huge blow to the tourism industry."
“Realistically and cautiously, we are talking about being at half the volume of 2019, which is backed by the forecasts from CEOE (Spanish Business Confederation) and the tourism lobby Exceltur,” Maroto continued.
For these projections to go ahead, the Spanish Covid-19 vaccination scheme needs to continue at a good speed and not encounter any further setbacks.
The latest figures show that 22% of the population have received at least their first dose of the vaccines, from either Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech, while 8% have also received the two vaccines that are needed to give full protection against the virus.
The Spanish Government's aim is to have 70% of the adult population vaccinated by the end of this summer.
“We are facing a very different summer from last year, where we have the vaccination drive, which is the best tool to reactivate travel and the economy,” said the Tourism Minister “This is going to ensure we can travel safely.”
“There are already families that are planning their trips, be it to their second home or a favourite vacation destination. We will be taking measures to build confidence and so that we can travel safely,” she added.
Maroto also added that from May 9, when the state of alarm is to come to an end, travel restrictions within Spain will be lifted. “It’s good news because we are beginning to see the end of the tunnel,” she said.
For the last six months, the state of alarm has meant that regions have been able to introduce Covid restrictions on basic rights including movement.
According to legal experts, when the state of alarm comes to an end, regional governments will still have the power to close the region's borders as well as locking down neighbourhoods, municipalities and provinces under the 1986 public health law.
With regards to the EU’s “Digital Green Certificate”, which will allow Europeans to enter Spain, without having to take a Covid test or self-isolate, Maroto said that “the measure is set to be available from mid-June.”
Designed to make travel easier, the certificate is both a physical and digital document. It will have a QR code that will allow a country’s authorities to check three things: Has the document holder had Covid-19, have they had their vaccinations and have they had a test that confirms they are not currently infected with the virus.
“It’s an instrument to begin to recover the international mobility that Spain needs to reactivate the sector,” explained the Tourism MInister.
She also made it known that trips for the elderly that are organized by the public services agency Imserso will resume in October. “Nearly all seniors are vaccinated and, as such, they can start thinking about destinations they want to travel to. It is our way of repaying our seniors,” she said.
Maroto went on to say that overnight stays had fallen by 54% in March compared to figures from the same month last year. This is on a much smaller scale than the almost 90% drops that have been recorded in previous months. This decline is, however, also due to the fact that from mid-March last year, Spain was under ‘home lockdown’ and all tourist accommodation was closed.