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Spain to allow all vaccinated travellers from around the world to visit from June 7th

Spain will allow all vaccinated travellers - regardless of their country of origin - to visit the country from June 7th, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Friday, as the tourism hotspot aims to revive its virus-battered travel industry.

Spain to allow all vaccinated travellers from around the world to visit from June 7th
Photo: DESIREE MARTIN / AFP

“From June 7th, all vaccinated people and their families will be welcome in our country, Spain, regardless of their country of origin,” Sanchez said at an international tourism fair in Madrid.

He also announced that British travellers would be allowed to visit Spain for holidays from next week.

“From next Monday, the 24th of May, Spain will be delighted to receive British tourists again into our country,” Sanchez said.

He said they will be allowed in “without restriction”, but he did not specify whether they would have to show a negative Covid test.

Britain has long been the biggest source of tourists for Spain, and until now British travellers have only been allowed into Spain for visits deemed essential.

But for the time being, Britain has upheld restrictions on travellers from Spain, who have to quarantine on arrival, as well as showing a negative Covid test.

READ MORE: Spain to welcome British tourists without PCRs or quarantine from Monday May 24th

The world’s second most popular destination after France, Spain registered 83.5 million foreign visitors in 2019, official figures show.

In 2020, the number of foreign tourists visiting Spain collapsed by 77 percent compared with a year earlier, falling below 19 million visitors as
pandemic restrictions put the brakes on leisure travel.

It expects to welcome around 45 million foreign tourists in 2021, just over half the number who came in 2019 before the pandemic struck, the tourism minister said this month.

Sánchez was speaking at the FITUR International Tourism Fair, which saw some 50,000 people gather this week for the first in-person meeting of its kind since the pandemic hit.

The fair was taking place as Europe and many other countries are coming out of lockdowns imposed because of the pandemic and as people across the globe are gearing up to travel again.

Tourism was one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourist arrivals are estimated to have fallen 74 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

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IN IMAGES: Spain’s ‘scrap cathedral’ lives on after creator’s death

For over 60 years, former monk Justo Gallego almost single-handedly built a cathedral out of scrap materials on the outskirts of Madrid. Here is a picture-based ode to his remarkable labour of love.

IN IMAGES: Spain's 'scrap cathedral' lives on after creator's death
File photo taken on August 3, 1999 shows Justo Gallego Martinez, then 73, posing in front of his cathedral. Photo: ERIC CABANIS / AFP

The 96-year-old died over the weekend, but left the unfinished complex in Mejorada del Campo to a charity run by a priest that has vowed to complete his labour of love.

Gallego began the project in 1961 when he was in his mid-30s on land inherited from his family after a bout of tuberculosis forced him to leave an order of Trappist monks.

Today, the “Cathedral of Justo” features a crypt, two cloisters and 12 towers spread over 4,700 square metres (50,600 square feet), although the central dome still does not have a cover.

He used bricks, wood and other material scavenged from old building sites, as well as through donations that began to arrive once the project became better known.

A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The building’s pillars are made from stacked oil drums while windows have been cobbled and glued together from shards of coloured glass.

“Recycling is fashionable now, but he used it 60 years ago when nobody talked about it,” said Juan Carlos Arroyo, an engineer and architect with engineering firm Calter.

Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid.
Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid. Photo: (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The charity that is taking over the project, “Messengers of Peace”, hired the firm to assess the structural soundness of the building, which lacks a permit.

No blueprint

“The structure has withstood significant weather events throughout its construction,” Arroyo told AFP, predicting it will only need some “small surgical interventions”.

Renowned British architect Norman Foster visited the site in 2009 — when he came to Spain to collect a prize — telling Gallego that he should be the one getting the award, Arroyo added.

Religious murals on a walls of Justo's cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Religious murals on a walls of Justo’s cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The sturdiness of the project is surprising given that Gallego had no formal training as a builder, and he worked without a blueprint.

In interviews, he repeatedly said that the details for the cathedral were “in his head” and “it all comes from above”.

Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The complex stands in a street called Avenida Antoni Gaudi, named after the architect behind Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia basilica which has been under construction since 1883.

But unlike the Sagrada Familia, the Cathedral of Justo Gallego as it is known is not recognised by the Roman Catholic Church as a place of worship.

Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral's completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral’s completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

‘Worth visiting’

Father Angel Garcia Rodriguez, the maverick priest who heads Messengers of Peace, wants to turn Gallego’s building into an inclusive space for all faiths and one that is used to help the poor.

“There are already too many cathedrals and too many churches, that sometimes lack people,” he said.

“It will not be a typical cathedral, but a social centre where people can come to pray or if they are facing difficulties,” he added.

A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

Father Angel is famous in Spain for running a restaurant offering meals to the homeless and for running a church in central Madrid where pets are welcome and the faithful can confess via iPad.

Inside the Cathedral of Justo, volunteers continued working on the structure while a steady stream of visitors walked around the grounds admiring the building in the nondescript suburb.

“If the means are put in, especially materials and money, to finish it, then it will be a very beautiful place of worship,” said Ramon Calvo, 74, who was visiting the grounds with friends.

FIND OUT MORE: How to get to Justo’s Cathedral and more amazing images

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