Adiós: Fond farewell from Fiona at The Local Spain

Fiona Govan is leaving her role as editor of The Local Spain after six years at the helm.

Adiós: Fond farewell from Fiona at The Local Spain
Fiona and Rufus in Madrid's the Retiro Park.Photo: Fiona Govan/The Local

Just over six years ago I walked into a building round the corner from Spain’s parliament, past a fearsome portera who guarded the lobby like a blonde bouffanted Cerberus, and up to a small office on the second floor.

It was January 2015 and Spain was on its way out of a deep economic crisis, the jobless numbers were falling, house prices were rising and Madrid was in the grip of a reinvention, with swanky roof terraces and new hipster brunch places opening up across the centre as tourists flooded in.

Elections loomed and Podemos burst onto the scene suddenly fracturing Spain’s traditional two party system, heralding in a period of political instability that saw no single party easily able to form a government.

As editor I’ve covered four general elections interspersed with months and months without a government, chartered the growth of the independence movement in Catalonia, the demise of Basque Separatist group Eta and the rise of Vox.

There have been countless corruption scandals, several terrorist attacks, forest fires and floods. We’ve also sought to celebrate all those things that make Spain the wonderful place we have chosen to visit and make our home.

Aside from the day to day news, our coverage has sought to inform, inspire and include our readers on the experience of living in Spain; its wonderful cultural riches and the peculiar quirks of being a foreigner navigating life here and all that entails, from buying a property to learning the language, starting a business and building a life.  

When I started out as editor of The Local Spain, Brexit wasn’t even a word and ‘corona’ was heard either when ordering a bottle of beer served with a slice of lemon or to use in a discussion about the future of Spain’s monarchy.  

These two themes have come to dominate our coverage as we have sought to inform, explain and help our readers overcome difficulties these issues brought to those in Spain over the last year.

Stories are generated not just from the main news covered in the Spanish press each day but that are sparked directly from our readers. At The Local Spain we’ve been sharing your stories, fighting your corner and finding out the answers to your questions, whether it’s a query about travel restrictions, how to navigate a bureaucracy issue or what to do if you have a particularly troublesome noisy neighbour.  

This week, The Local network passed the huge milestone of 40,000 paying members, tripling the number of subscribers since the start of 2020, proving that our news sites are invaluable to the communities that we serve.

After six years, it’s time for me to move on to a new challenge. But it has been a pleasure and a privilege to grow with The Local Spain and now to hand over to Alex Dunham, who started as a reporter when the site launched in 2013 and who will now take over as editor.  

Continue to send him your questions, your ideas on what we should cover and share your experiences so that The Local Spain can continue from strength to strength.

Hasta luego and gracias,

Fiona Govan



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OFFICIAL: Vaccinated global travellers will finally be able to come to Spain from June 7th

The Spanish government on Saturday June 5th published a state bulletin confirming that it will modify the entry rules for vaccinated non-EU/Schengen citizens from June 7th. 

OFFICIAL: Vaccinated global travellers will finally be able to come to Spain from June 7th

As we reported ahead of time on Friday, Spain has gone ahead and changed its entry rules for non-EU/Schengen vaccinated travellers, only seven days after it extended a ban on non-essential travel from outside the bloc.

This has caused plenty of confusion over the past week, as Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had initially said that all vaccinated travellers, “regardless of their country of origin”, would be able to come to Spain from June 7th, whereas last weekend’s state bulletin BOE made no mention of vaccinated travellers and in fact extended the ban on non-essential travel from third countries until June 30th.

In the end, Sánchez and his government have stuck to their word, and were just keeping their cards close to their chest while preparing a new BOE with conditions that modify the travel rules published only seven days earlier.  

What has Spain now confirmed?

Spain has “modified the criteria for the temporary restriction of non-essential travel from third countries to the EU and Schengen countries” the document begins. 

The standout modification is that people who wish to travel to Spain from outside the EU/Schengen Zone can do so from June 7th if they have a vaccination certificate and have had their full vaccination treatment or last dose 14 days before travel. 

In essence, vaccinated people have been added to the list of non-EU/Schengen travellers who are exempt from the ban on non-essential travel to Spain, which up to now had been mainly for Spanish nationals and residents, students, several different categories of key workers and in some cases spouses and family members of Spanish/EU and those who can prove force majeure reasons (more details here and here). 

This BOE is the first official document confirming Pedro Sánchez’s words on May 21st, and has been released less than 48 hours before the new rule comes into effect, at 00:00 hours on June 7th 2021. 

There are no changes to the list of non-EU countries which are exempt from Spain’s non-essential travel rule. People from Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macao, China, the United Kingdom and Japan can continue coming to Spain for non-essential reasons such as holidays.

The difference for vaccinated travellers from countries that are not on the list is that they as “specific people” are now also exempt from the non-essential travel ban, as long as they can prove they’ve been vaccinated.

The Spanish government has published a second state bulletin which lays out the new conditions for travel to Spain regarding vaccination certificates, health passes and more, so stay tuned to The Local Spain as we will cover all this in detail.


Reader question: Which Covid vaccines does Spain accept for international tourists to visit?