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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Spanish Government is considering opening the doors to foreign tourism in July, but with an emphasis on security

Playa de las Vistas Image by Enrico Lombardi from Pixabay

Only a declaration of intent has been made, without specifying an exact date for the return of tourists and no guarantee that reopening not be delayed beyond July.

After more than two months of zero tourism, with the borders and tourist establishments closed, central government have said that July could be the month in which the doors to foreign tourism are reopened and the activity begins to reactivate, although it would be done with extreme security.

What has been made clear is that during June Spain will continue without receiving foreign visitors into the country. It has also become clear that the central government intends to save part of the sector's summer season and the remainder of the year thereafter, albeit cautiously, very cautiously, even at the cost of reopening those doors several weeks after competing destinations like Italy or Greece.

This period actually coincides with central government's initial forecast of the phases of de-escalation of the state of alarm and would coincide with the completion of the three phases announced as a transition to return "to a new normality."

It was stressed that it would be "irresponsible" to open the borders prematurely and ruled out a return to mass tourism at least in the short term. They advocate going "very carefully" so that those who come to Spain do not run risks nor endanger the local population.

Safe destinations

An idea that has been circulating in the Canary Islands, is that of working on "safe origins and destinations". The data shows that the control of the pandemic in destinations such as the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands or Andalusia "are extraordinary", but this is because there is no mobility between provinces or from foreign countries, which prevents the arrival of people who could potentially be infected.

We have to be very careful, because the person who comes is not at risk, because they arrive at a safe destination, but at the same time, they must not pose a risk to the local population. If tourism reopens massively, it could be irresponsibe, recalling that the outbreaks of Covid-19 in China, South Korea and Singapore were associated with the importation of cases from abroad.


As for the 14-day quarantine that has been imposed for those who enter the country (currently only a possibility with many limitations), the possibility exists that this measure will disappear when the state of alarm ends.

The minister assured that the European Union understands that tourism is "an important issue" and that several Spanish ministries work to "manage it wisely". It is acknowledged that there is beginning to be interest and demand from foreign tourists wanting to travel to Spain once the situation of the pandemic is controlled and the weather is good.

Competing destinations

Italy has already announced that its doors will open to tourists on June 3 and without any quarantine. And in Greece, airports will receive foreigners from July 1, without isolations either, although it will randomly subject those who arrive to coronavirus testing. Thus, two of the major competitors for foreign tourism (especially German and British) overtake Spain.

El Gobierno tantea empezar a abrir las puertas al turismo extranjero en julio, pero incidiendo en la seguridad

[NB: Whilst Greece may be opening, the UK's current record on coronavirus is currently not good enough for Brits to be allowed to visit Greece when the country open its doors to overseas holidaymakers from July. We must wait and see if Spain imposes similar restrictions, based on how safe it considers the sending nations to be.]