Spain could consider a “green corridor” for vaccinated British tourists if the European Union cannot reach agreement on vaccination passports, say reports.
European leaders in Brussels hope that a vaccination passport scheme will be open to British travellers in time to save the summer holidays.
A proposal for a “digital green pass” will be put forward by the European Commission on March 17.
However, Spain’s tourism minister Fernando Valdes told Bloomberg: “Right now we have discussions with our colleagues in the UK.
“For us the British market is our main market. But obviously since we are a member of the European Union, the solutions have first to be part of the discussions in the EU.
“And obviously if that cannot be reached, we will be thinking of other solutions, green corridors with third countries that can help us restart tourism flows.”
He said reopening Spain to British tourists depends on the way the pandemic and the vaccination programmes evolve but added: “Maybe this summer we will be regaining British tourists here in Spain.”
The UK’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, also talked about the EU plans during Monday’s Downing Street briefing.
He said the British government is working “on the need for certification in terms of having had a vaccine to be able to travel to another country”.
“If another country wants to say that you need to have been vaccinated with a recognised vaccine to travel there we want to enable Brits to be able to take that journey,” he said.
“So we are working with international partners, and the EU is part of those discussions, as are several other countries around the world, and it’s obviously important work.”
He added: “The EU proposal is that certification includes both whether you’ve had the vaccine and also whether you’ve recently had a test so those who can’t get vaccinated yet.”
Elsewhere, the chair of the transport select committee said he believed the introduction of vaccine passports is “inevitable” in light of the European Commission’s announcement.
Conservative MP Hugh Merriman told Radio Four’s PM: “It just makes sense now to make sure it’s workable and will include everything that’s needed to give people confidence to fly again.
He hoped the UK would not “tag along” to the EU scheme but “play a really big lead” because “our vaccine programme puts us further ahead”.
Tui welcomes vaccine passports
The Times reported that Tui has welcomed the EU announcement.
Andrew Flintham, managing director of Tui, told the newspaper: “We’re incredibly supportive of digital travel apps, or vaccine certificates for international travel this summer as they will restore our freedom to travel.”
He said the company was in “close co-ordination” with Greece, Spain and Cyprus about enabling holidays.
International travel will resume on May 17 at the earliest and the government’s Global Travel Taskforce will report to ministers on April 12 with proposals for the sector’s restart.
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