Spain aims to welcome back foreign visitors by late June to kick-start its travel economy.
Transport minister Jose Luis Abalos signalled his hope to welcome foreigners back to the country for the summer holidays.
“From late June, we’ll start the tourism activity, I hope,” he told Spanish broadcaster TVE.
“We must make Spain an attractive country from the health point of view.”
His comments follow Spain imposing a two-week quarantine on all overseas travellers, saying it was needed to avoid a second wave of Covid-19.
While the measure was meant to be temporary, Abalos said the quarantine would only be phased out in parallel with movement being allowed within Spain, where regions are easing restrictions in different phases.
“As soon as we Spaniards can travel to other provinces, foreigners will be able to come to Spain,” he said.
Even though life on the less populated Balearic and Canary Islands is almost back to normal for locals, for example, there are no tourists.
“It is consistent with the phase-out plan,” said Abalos. “We can’t allow foreigners to travel while the Spanish population is confined.”
The country is slowly easing its strict lockdown, which has been in place since mid-March.
The restrictions meant people could not even go out for exercise, but now most small shops have re-opened, along with some churches.
The Balearic Islands’ capital of Palma is slowly springing back to life with residents going out to restaurant terraces and getting outside for exercise.
Pedro Homar, manager of the Palma Tourism Board, said: “This situation had brought our community even closer together and its incredibly uplifting to enjoy the city’s hustle and bustle once more, albeit respecting the necessary guidelines.
“We are now preparing for tourism to be reinstated as soon as possible as we slowly resume a sense of normality.”
Tourism accounts for more than 12% of Spain’s economic output but the sector has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic which has seen more than 231,000 cases and 27,600 deaths.
However, on Sunday it reported 87 new deaths – the lowest daily number since March 16, Sky News reported.
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