Spain aims to reopen to overseas holidaymakers from June under the Covid digital health certificate scheme, the country’s secretary of state for tourism has said.
Fernando Valdés told the World Travel & Tourism Council summit in Mexico on Tuesday that the programme – under which tourists could show they have been vaccinated, tested negative or recently recovered from the virus – would prove “fundamental to offering travellers certainty”.
Valdés said Spain would participate in a pilot digital certificate scheme in May and would be “ready to receive visitors in June”. He said the new scheme – and Spain’s vaccine rollout – represented “a before and an after” in comparison with the situation last year, but stressed the certificates were “not a magic wand”.
What they did offer, he said, in comments reported by the Spanish news agency Europa Press, was a degree of security because they would allow tourists to travel if they had been vaccinated, if they had tested negative despite not having had the jab, or if they had already recovered from Covid.
Spain, which depends on tourism for about 12% of its GDP, is in its fourth wave of the pandemic. To date, coronavirus has infected 3,496,134 people in the country and claimed 77,855 lives.
Efforts to vaccinate Spain’s population of about 47 million people are gathering pace, with 14,994,667 doses of the vaccine administered, and 4,020,945 people already receiving both doses.
The country’s socialist-led coalition government has said it is aiming to have 70% of the population vaccinated by the end of the summer.
News of the planned reopening came as it emerged that talks over the mechanics of reopening travel routes between the UK and the European Union over the summer holidays will open with Brussels within days.
Officials in Whitehall are working on a proposal for the mutual recognition of Covid passports, which will contain information on vaccines administered to the holder and recent test results.
Earlier this month, Boris Johnson said he was “hopeful” about restarting international travel on 17 May. EU countries with large tourist sectors are pushing for the European commission to coordinate with London.