Spain will open their borders to British tourists as of Monday May 24th, even to visitors who are not vaccinated, and ahead of the European Union. The Spanish Government, as was predicted, have decided to include the United Kingdom, their main tourism source market, on the so-called “white list” of safe non-EU countries, known as third countries, due to their positive epidemiological situation, published this Friday by the Official State Gazette ( BOE). This is great news for The Canary Islands, which remain as the only Spanish destination excluded from Foreign Office advice against travel.
No longer part of the European Union, the British have been prohibited, over recent weeks, from travelling to Spain, due to the Covid-19 crisis, with few exceptions. The inclusion of the United Kingdom in what the EU are calling the “white list” means that this ban has been lifted for all British citizens, and those travelling from the UK, even for those yet to receive a vaccine, and so tourist flows, it is hoped, can now be restored for the summer.
We all still need to be very careful, the pandemic still isn’t over, but at least now we can start to really work with the situation and try to restore some confidence with our ability to handle incoming tourism safely and securely. Now we can start to save tourism.
I am pleased to inform you that a new Ministerial Order exempting citizens from the UK and other countries from temporary restrictions for non-essential trips to Spain.
I can announce that from the 24th of May Spain will be delighted to receive British tourists again. pic.twitter.com/LsxGBziA1W
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) May 21, 2021
Speaking on Friday at the FITUR tourism fair in Madrid, Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s prime minister, said: “From May 24 Spain will be more than delighted to receive British tourists back into our country without health controls.”
“As of Monday, travellers from safe non-EU countries, including the United Kingdom, will be allowed to enter. In addition, from June 7, tourists from countries with which there is not full freedom of movement will be able to come to Spain if they have a complete vaccination schedule.”
The Spanish government has relied on the EU’s approval, on Wednesday, of measures to relax the criteria for the “white list” of third countries deemed safe, due to several factors including their 14 day Accumulated Incidence. The EU Twenty-Seven agreed and announced that countries with less than 75 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population (75/100k), over the 14 days prior, are to be considered safe. The threshold up until now has been much stricter, standing at 25 cumulative cases per 100k.
We welcome the @EUCouncil agreement on updating the approach to travel from outside the EU. The Council now recommends that EU countries ease some of the current restrictions, in particular for those vaccinated with an authorised vaccine.@ChristianWigand ↓ pic.twitter.com/hCVKxe2Pw2 — European Commission ?? (@EU_Commission) May 19, 2021
This change sets in motion the reopening of international borders for tourists from the United Kingdom, currently registering an incidences rate of less than 50/100k. The EU will publish the new “white list” over the coming days, but the Spanish Government has decided to make their declaration, expected since last week, ahead of the official EU announcement, taking full advantage of the FITUR travel fair currently happening in Madrid to help prepare the tourism sector to know what to expect.
“As regards the United Kingdom, Spain annually receives a number of visitors that is not just particularly relevant in absolute terms but also in relative terms, so many economic sectors need to adapt their capacities in anticipation of changes that occur to borders. “, explains the BOE.
In addition to the United Kingdom, Spain has included Japan on their list of safe countries. The list already includes Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Israel and China, but also expects reciprocity. It remains to be seen whether or not the British Government will reciprocate with similar measures for people arriving from Spain.
The only serious obstacle now left to the arrival of British tourists continues to be that the UK have yet to include any Spanish destinations on their own “Green List” of safe countries, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson having unequivocally stated this week that “people should not be going on holiday to amber list countries” despite UK legislation now allowing the British to “decide for themselves” but forcing travellers to quarantine upon their return, and requiring several expensive tests. Despite many having been put off by this, millions have already booked their holidays. and a surge of bookings, particularly to The Canary Islands, is now imminent.
London is expected soon to announce any changes to their advice, regarding Green List and Amber List destinations, and though the Foreign Office are still advising against travel to Spain, they have continued to exclude The Canary Islands from that advice.
Spain declared their nationwide State of Emergency finished on May 9