Q&A: How soon will I be able to visit Spain?

If all continues well with de-escalation plans then Spain could soon be welcoming foreign tourists.

José Luis Ábalos, the Spanish Minister of Transport insisted that once the nation has moved through the four phase plan to reach “the new normal” there would be no reason to keep the country shut off to foreign visitors.

Currently Spain has closed borders and is only allowing those who have very good reason to enter Spain, either because they are citizens or permanent residents here or because they have legitimate work reasons.

Since May 15th all those who enter are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine where they must self-isolate in their own homes or lodgings.

Internal travel in Spain is also banned with residents restricted to moving only around their own province until restrictions are lifted further.

But the Transport Minister explained on Monday that the new quarantine rules would be phased out once travel within Spain was allowed.

“We can’t allow foreigners to travel while the Spanish population is confined,” he told broadcaster TVE. “From late June, we’ll re-start tourism activity, I hope … We must make Spain an attractive country from the health point of view.”

His words will bring hope to a tourism sector that feared the entire summer season would be wiped out.

Tourism accounts for over 12 percent of Spain’s economic output and has already suffered a huge blow to revenue having missed out the start of the season – a revenue loss estimated at between 93 to 124 billion euros ($100 to $134 billion) according to lobby group Exceltur estimates.

Ábalos also said that he did not forsee the need for airlines to reduce their passenger occupancy by one third to allow an empty seat between travellers, a measure that industry insiders warned would make operating flights prohibitively expensive.

Instead he said other hygiene measures would have to be observed.

Even when Spain does open up to international tourism again it’s unlikely to be on the scale it was in previous seasons.

In an interview last week Spain’s Foreign Minister, Arancha Gonzalez Laya admitted the “new normal” would come with restrictions.

“This year will be tough because we will not be able to welcome the tourists as we have in previous years because of health and safety, not only of tourists but also of Spaniards.”

Tourism resorts across Spain are exploring measures to welcome back tourists and keep them safe.

Plans along the costas include ways to enforce social distancing on beaches with allocated time slots booked in advance.



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US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Authorities in the USA have announced the end of the Covid-testing requirement for arrivals from Europe, meaning that fully vaccinated people will soon be able to travel between Europe and the US without needing pre-travel tests.

US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Most of Europe had dropped the testing requirement for fully-vaccinated arrivals in the spring, but the US has maintained the requirement to show proof of a negative test for all arrivals.

However on Friday, the Biden administration announced that it would not renew the testing requirement.

The new rule is expected to come into effect at 12.01 Sunday EDT, until then passengers will still need to show a negative Covid test before they can board a plane to the US.

The US currently bars unvaccinated travellers from entry – although this does not apply to US citizens, US residents or those travelling for essential reasons – there was no announcement on lifting this restriction. 

The CDC said that testing requirements could be reinstated if new variants of Covid emerge, and added that it continues to recommend pre-travel testing. 

Covid travel rules vary between individual countries in Europe, but most countries now only require pre-departure tests for unvaccinated travellers. Check the rules of the country you are travelling to for full details. 

To be counted as ‘fully vaccinated’ travellers must have received both doses of an EMA-approved vaccine – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (or a single dose of Janssen).

If their vaccination was more than nine months ago, they need a booster shot in order to be considered fully vaccinated – people who have had a booster do not need a second, even if their booster shot was more than nine months ago.