Europe

Vaccine passports: Brits can enjoy Spanish sunshine in June – country’s tourism minister

Holidays: Tourism Secretary ‘desperate’ to welcome Brits to Spain

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Fernando Valdés Verelst, the country’s tourism minister, has said he is in “close conversations” with UK ministers about allowing entrance to inoculated tourists. Millions of Brits are expected to utilise the vaccine passport scheme this summer.

It allows travel to any country that will allow entry for those with a digital health certificate – or proof of a negative test on arrival for those not yet vaccinated.

Mr Valdés Verelst told The Sun: “June will be the beginning of the recovery of tourism in Spain.

“By then we will have a digital vaccination certificate in place and we will be able to reopen our borders.”

Mr Valdés Verelst also welcomed assurances from Westminster that the UK’s traffic light system will categorise Spanish islands individually, based on vaccination programmes and cases.

The UK’s vaccine passport scheme is still being developed, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains committed to restarting travel from May 17.

The Government has suggested an initial selection of “green-listed” countries will be released in early May – and will be regularly reviewed.

Passengers from “green-listed” countries will not be required to quarantine on return to the UK, but will be expected to take a PCR test within two days of arrival.

Mr Valdés Verelst added that he is working to ensure the vaccination certificate scheme is “mutually recognised” by both countries.

Speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Council’s meeting in Mexico, the tourism minister said as part of a pilot scheme, Spain would accept digital vaccination passes in May at 46 entry points into the country.

He said: “We are having close conversations with UK authorities and we are exchanging information on Spain’s digital system and the pilot trial happening at our airports in May.

“Because of the progress in our vaccine rollout with 22 percent of our population having had their first dose already, we expect by June to be at the green light.

“It is also great that the UK government has said it will take into consideration the situation on individual islands.

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“We do not want a scenario like last year where it was stop-start in terms of travel being allowed.”

Spain is one of the UK’s largest holiday destinations with around 17.4 million people visiting for a holiday in 2019.

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