Spain to welcome tourists with Covid certificates from June

Digital health certs for people who have been inoculated, tested negative or had virus

The marina at Puerto Banus, a popular Spanish destination for Irish tourists. Photograph: Getty Images

The marina at Puerto Banus, a popular Spanish destination for Irish tourists. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Spain aims to reopen to overseas holidaymakers from June under the Covid digital health certificate scheme, the country’s secretary of state for tourism has said.

Fernando Valdés told the World Travel & Tourism Council summit in Mexico on Tuesday that the programme – under which tourists could show they have been vaccinated, tested negative or recently recovered from the virus – would prove “fundamental to offering travellers certainty”.

Valdés said Spain would participate in a pilot digital-certificate scheme in May and would be “ready to receive visitors in June”. He said the new scheme – and Spain’s vaccine rollout – represented “a before and an after” in comparison with the situation last year, but he stressed the certificates were “not a magic wand”.

What they did offer, he said, in comments reported by the Spanish news agency Europa Press, was a degree of security because they would allow tourists to travel if they had been vaccinated, if they had tested negative despite not having had the jab, or if they had already recovered from Covid.

Spain, which depends on tourism for about 12 per cent of its GDP, is in its fourth wave of the pandemic. To date, coronavirus has infected 3,496,134 people in the country and claimed 77,855 lives.

Efforts to vaccinate Spain’s population of about 47 million people are gathering pace, with 14,994,667 doses of the vaccine administered, and 4,020,945 people already have received both doses. The country’s government has said it is aiming to have 70 per cent of the population vaccinated by the end of the summer.

Spain is the most popular foreign destination for Irish holidaymakers, with about two million trips taken in 2019. – Guardian