The Spanish Government has announced having set itself a goal to remove the one State of Emergency measure seen as the biggest obstacle to summer tourism. The tourism industry generates around 12% of Spain’s GDP, and the country is now taking steps so as to not completely lose this summer season. It is an important move for the sector, and for the Spanish economy, as this is the time of the year when most visits to mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands are concentrated.
The Canary Islands, despite having some of the lowest numbers of corona virus infections in Spain, are perhaps the most economically endangered, they earn a much higher percentage of their annual GDP from tourism, around 1/3, and it remains to be seen if their willingness to reopen will be matched, in any real sense, by July to September bookings. Thankfully we are less focused on just the summer months, our all-year-round sub-tropical climate will allow for a more gradual return to tourist bookings as confidence begins to return, without, perhaps, the same need to compete with all the other regions so desperate to get going again before the season ends. The Canary Islands are focused on promoting their safe, clean environment, with hotels open for business throughout the year, and a stronger winter season looks likely.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced last Saturday that foreign tourists would be able to travel to Spain this summer, from July. And yesterday he put forward an actual date, for the first time, when the mandatory quarantine rules, which have been in force since May 15, could come to an end, having been in place for a total of 45 days. The move has been widely welcomed as vital to the Spanish economy and eliminates a primary obstacle to commercial travel, because the need for quarantine has, of course, had a deterrent effect on any foreign tourists being able to confidently plan their holidays to the country as a whole.
The announcement has come about in response to demands from the tourism industry, who have seen the quarantine as a counterproductive measure with a negative message, implying that tourists are not welcome. With the increased certainty of when the quarantine ends, the situation is now becoming a little clearer for tourists, flight companies and hoteliers.
Scientists and ministers will be monitoring the situation closely to keep a handle on any potential for infection rates to start climbing again, though the current consensus is that Spain has overcome this first wave of the pandemic and now must try to get its economy moving once more, with tourism having a key role to play.