Spain will consider joining Greece in plans to reopen its borders for international travellers who have received a Covid vaccine from May, the country’s tourism minister has said.
Maria Reyes Maroto told local Spanish media Antena 3 TV that the country could introduce Covid-19 vaccine passports as early as 19 May in a bid to nurse the country’s battered tourism industry back to health.
The Balearic Islands, which include popular holiday destinations Majorca and Ibiza, have already announced plans to welcome foreign tourists back this summer through a vaccine passport programme.
International travel from the UK is currently banned until at least 17 May, with departing Brits now obliged to fill out a form stating their reasons for essential travel.
The Prime Minister last month appointed Michael Gove to oversee a review into the possibility of vaccine passports. The taskforce, which will report its findings to the PM on 12 April, has been asked to ensure “that any shorter-term changes act as a bridge to longer-term objectives on delivering vaccine certification to facilitate travel…and global standardisation of border measures”.
Greece yesterday announced plans to welcome foreign tourists from 14 May, in a departure from the EU’s cautious approach to resuming non-essential travel.
People who can prove they have a strong level of Covid immunity will be able to travel to the Mediterranean country this summer, said tourism minister Harry Theocharis.
The tourism industry accounts for about a fifth of the Greek economy and employs one in five workers, but arrivals collapsed last year in the thick of the pandemic.
“Greece is ready with a complete protocol for summer 2021,” he said. “Tourists will be welcome if before travel they are either vaccinated, or have antibodies, or test negative. All tourists will be subject to random testing.”
“Please allow me to emphasise that no image could better portray the return to the normality of tourism than the Greek smile, the Greek landscape, the Greek hospitality,” he added.
Meanwhile Cyprus has also unveiled plans to welcome back vaccinated travellers from May that would see quarantine requirements scrapped.
Deputy tourism minister Savvas Perdios told the Cyprus News Agency that travellers from Britain would not need a test or have to quarantine if they could prove they had been vaccinated.
“We have informed the British government that from 1 May we will facilitate the arrival of British nationals who have been vaccinated… so they can visit Cyprus without a negative test or needing to quarantine,” he said.