Spain holidays: UK to be ‘one of first to return’ to Majorca after quick vaccine rollout
Priti Patel reveals government’s new travel quarantine rules
Spain is one of the most popular destination in the world for British holidaymakers, but at the moment, borders are closed. However, a Spanish tourism official has confirmed the country hopes to be able to welcome Britons this summer – and it is all thanks to the vaccine rollout in the UK.
Pedro Homar, director of the Palma Tourism Board, said: “With the rate in which the UK is rolling out the vaccination, we are confident that the UK market will be one of the first to return to Palma.
“In terms of timings, we expect the UK market to return from around May onwards.
“This is obviously subject to the evolution of the pandemic both in the UK and in the Balearic Islands but we feel this is a realistic target.
“Whilst safety is the number one priority, we are eager to welcome back British visitors and we feel confident that by May, processes will be in place to enable us to do that.”
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Explaining that Palma in particular is well placed to cope with tourism, Homar told The Telegraph: “Palma has exceptional tourism infrastructure and the public and private sector are working hard to ensure tourism can return in a safe way.
“It is too soon to say whether Easter holidays to Palma can resume but we certainly feel confident from May onwards.”
Spain will be working hard to get Britons back on holiday in the country, as new figures released by the National Statistics Institute (INE) show that Spain’s tourism industry is struggling due to a loss of British visitors.
18.01 million UK tourists visited the country in 2019, before the coronavirus crisis battered tourism worldwide.
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However, amid an onslaught of travel and quarantine restrictions, Spain’s tourism traffic fell dramatically, with many restaurants and hotels forced to close their doors in prime hotspots including Benidorm and Magaluf.
The Balearic Islands, in particular, have reported a dramatic 93 percent drop in traffic since 2019.
In 2020, the sunshine destination saw just 223,000 travellers from the UK compared with 3.7 million in 2019. This is a fall of 93 percent.
Numbers reportedly began to plummet from mid-July, when the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) began to advise against all but “essential” travel to the nation.
At the time of writing, the FCDO continues to advise against “all but essential travel” to Spain.
Furthermore, holidays are not allowed under the current UK-wide lockdown. Britons are only allowed to travel for essential reasons.
Spain is also denying entry from British travellers, “with the exception of Spanish nationals and those legally resident in Spain.”
This is due to new strains of coronavirus being found in the UK, and many countries have banned entry to those coming from the UK in response.
Anyone travelling into the UK from a variety of countries will have to quarantine in a hotel, starting February 15th.
Spain is not currently one of the countries on this list, but an expert has predicted they could join the list soon.
The list of “red zone” nations are reviewed by the Government on a weekly basis, and travel expert Paul Charles, CEO of The PC Agency, has suggested Spain could be soon included.
In a tweet, he said: “#Spain may be added to the high-risk list in the weekly review tomorrow.
“Infections have risen from 10,000 a day on 2nd Jan to 34,000 a day on 2nd Feb. Sadly, mortalities are rising sharply too. Expert scientists tell me the chart has the hallmarks of variant seen in #Portugal.”
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