TOURISM

Tourism minister: British tourists should be able to return to Spain from May 20 without PCR tests

Speaking after the weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Reyes Maroto pointed to the positive epidemiological data in the United Kingdom and expressed hopes that her country would soon be put on the “green list” of destinations

Passengers arrive this week in Madrid's Barajas Airport.
Passengers arrive this week in Madrid's Barajas Airport.A. Pérez Meca / Europa Press

The Spanish minister for industry, commerce and tourism, Reyes Maroto, said on Tuesday that British tourists could begin to visit Spain once more from May 20 onward, provided that the authorities in the United Kingdom place the popular vacation destination on its coronavirus “green list” of countries.

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Speaking at a press conference held after the weekly Cabinet meeting, Maroto said: “We know what we have to do to allow British people to travel to Spain, which is to lower the cumulative incidence and keep on vaccinating.”

The statement comes ahead of the European Union’s plans to relax restrictions on non-essential travel from countries outside of the EU where the 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants is lower than 100. In the UK, this data point currently stands at 48.

Currently, Britons cannot travel to Spain unless for a series of exceptional reasons, and if they can take the journey must present a negative PCR test on arrival in the country. Those returning from Spain to the UK, meanwhile, must also provide a negative test on arrival, quarantine for 10 days and take two Covid-19 home tests.

Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto during a press conference on Tuesday.
Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto during a press conference on Tuesday.tak_k / Europa Press

Maroto added that citizens entering Spain from the United Kingdom from May 20 were likely to be excluded from the requirement to provide a negative PCR test on arrival given that the cumulative incidence of the virus in the country is currently very low. The vaccination process in the UK began earlier than it did in European countries such as Spain, and its progress has had a marked effect on the epidemiological curve.

The UK government last week announced the creation of a “green list” of 12 countries and territories to which its citizens will be able to travel from May 17 onward. These include Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel, but for now exclude Spain, France and Greece. The list is due to be revised every three weeks.

More than 18 million British tourists traveled to Spain in 2019, making up the biggest group of foreign visitors, according to news agency Reuters. The arrival of the coronavirus pandemic saw these numbers fall to just 3.2 million in 2020, with the restrictions on travel causing an 80% fall in international tourism to the country.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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