Spain’s islands are likely to be the first areas of the country to open up to tourists, its foreign minister believes, as she insisted it wanted to welcome back UK holidaymakers “as soon as possible”.
Arancha Gonzalez Laya said Spain wanted to “make sure at this moment we can provide [visitors] with a safe and healthy experience”. “That’s top of our priorities right now,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“We’re hoping to get tourists back as soon as possible but we are also conscious that when we welcome them we want to provide the safest destination in Europe.”
Gonzalez said after implementing “one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe”, Spain was de-escalating restrictions, with different regions moving on different timescales.
“Some of our islands are Covid-free [while] some areas like Madrid and Barcelona have higher numbers of Covid cases. Those that are in better position can open faster and others need to build sanitary capacity to allow them to face a new surge [of cases] in the future.
“We are putting health first so that when we open the country, first to Spaniards and then to tourists, everybody will be safe.”
Asked how Spain’s current 14-day quarantine rule for anyone arriving in the country, could impact the numbers of British holidaymakers, González said: “We are very clear in our minds this is a temporary measure.”
“We see our quarantine as being a temporary measure while we de-escalate our lockdown and try to keep Covid under control."
She explained how the policy could be replaced in future by temperature checks and other measures - including a certificate showing someone as Covid-free.