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.”
Ábalos sitúa a finales de junio la reactivación del turismo extranjero “con origen y destino sano” https://t.co/4Io5Eda34o
— RTVE (@rtve) May 18, 2020
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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