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EUROPEAN UNION

Spain will allow EU travellers with vaccine passports to sidestep Covid tests and quarantines

Spain will allow EU citizens and residents to enter Spain without having to quarantine or present a negative Covid test if they instead show a “digital green certificate” or vaccine passport, ministry sources have confirmed. 

Tourists arriving in Spain
Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP

The EU has announced that its ‘Digital Green Certificates’ – also referred to as vaccine passports – will be ready by June, allowing tourists to travel more easily throughout the bloc, including to Spain. 

This would mean that travellers with the certificates would be able to enter Spain without having to produce a negative PCR test or quarantine, General secretary of Digital Health Alfredo González said on Thursday.

“It will allow for more people to arrive in a safer manner,” he said and “will facilitate the mobility of people in the European Union, guarantee public health protection and permit social and economic activity to resume free of charge”.

González explained that the certificates would be in a digital or paper format and feature a QR code, containing all the essential information on the traveller. 

The European Commission website, states that the Digital Green Certificates will have information on whether the traveller has been vaccinated or not, if they have received a negative test result or if they have recovered from Covid-19.

“This certificate is not a passport, it’s not a travel document, and it’s not a requirement for travel,” González continued.

“It will respect data protection, safety and privacy. It is designed not to be discriminatory, and that is one of the major advantages,” he explained, hoping that the certificates will give a boost to summer tourism in Spain.

He said that Spain has already started the process of implementing the certificate to be ready in time for June.  

Sources from Spain’s Tourism Ministry also showed their enthusiasm for the certificates when they told El País: “We are optimistic and with this certificate, we are taking a giant step”. 

The EU Commission has said that national authorities will be in charge of issuing the certificates. It has not been decided yet how those in Spain will get one, whether they will be issued by hospitals, test centres or health authorities.

“When travelling, every EU citizen or third-country national legally staying or residing in the EU, who holds a Digital Green Certificate, should be exempted from free movement restrictions in the same way as citizens from the visited Member State,” the commission stated on its website.

Due to the pandemic, Spain saw fewer than 20 million visitors last year, the worst year for tourism seen in the last 50 years. Authorities are hoping that with the help of the Digital Green Certificates, the country will see double that number of foreign visitors this year.

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TRAVEL NEWS

How Spain’s air traffic control strike could hit your travel plans

Many of Spain’s air traffic controllers have been called to strike over the next month. Find out which dates and which airports will be affected.

How Spain's air traffic control strike could hit your travel plans

The workers’ unions USCA and CCOO have called around 162 air traffic controllers working at privatised control towers around the country to organise walkouts throughout February, affecting 28.5 percent of all air traffic in Spain.

The walkouts began on Monday January 30th and will continue every Monday until February 27th during “all work shifts that begin between 00:00 and 24:00,” they stated. Specifically, the strike days will occur on February 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th.

The airports affected by the strike will be A Coruña, Alicante-Elche, Castellón, Cuatro Vientos (Madrid), El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Ibiza, Jerez, Lanzarote, La Palma, Lleida, Murcia, Sabadell, Seville, Valencia and Vigo.

The Ministry of Transport has set minimum services depending on the type of route, which reaches 100 percent for emergency flights, the transfer of citizens or foreigners guarded by police officers and the transport of post and perishable products.  

For commercial flights with routes originating or ending at non-peninsular airports, the minimum services range between 52 percent from Lleida to 84 percent from La Coruña, depending on the estimated occupancy.

In the case of routes between foreign or Spanish cities whose travel time by road is at least five hours, the minimum services will be between 44 percent from La Palma and 57 percent from Alicante.  

For routes that can be replaced by other means of public transport in less than five hours, the minimum guaranteed services will be between 18 percent from Castellón and 30 percent from Vigo.

The workers are asking for a 5.5 percent salary increase but the proposal offered by their employers, which is 2 percent in 2023 and 2.5 percent in 2024, is “very far from their demands”.

The USCA and CCOO unions have decided to call the stoppages due to “the failure of the negotiations” with the Business Association of Civil Air Traffic Providers of the Liberalised Market (APCTA). They finally gave up trying to find a solution after several “unfruitful” meetings.

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