International Visitors Could Be Welcomed Back to Spain Next Month (Video)
"We are in constructive talks with a number of local governments where we believe there may be summer holidays..."
As Spain has recorded fewer and fewer deaths due to the coronavirus, select provinces are considering ways to safely bring back tourism as soon as next month.
Restaurants around the country have begun to reopen to visitors with tables are spaced apart due to the mandatory social distancing guidelines and people are required to wear face masks any time they’re in an enclosed public space, as part of its its four-phase “Transition to a New Normal.”.
“From late June, we’ll start tourism activity, I hope,” Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos told Spanish broadcaster TVE, according to Reuters. “We must make Spain an attractive country from the health point of view.”
Areas that specifically rely on tourism like Mallorca are considering a pilot project that would allow Germans and other select travelers to visit the island as it reboots its tourism sector, which could start as soon as the end of June.
"We are in constructive talks with a number of local governments where we believe there may be summer holidays," Martin Riecken, head of communications for TUI, a European travel operator, told CNN. "We don't believe that Spain as a whole, but the Balearics, also the Canary Islands, with low infection rates, where local governments have made good progress."
The process is known as “green bridges” and would allow travelers from low-infected areas to visit other low-infected areas of Europe. This “destination-to-destination” approach would likely be one of the fastest ways to bring back tourism in a safe manner.
Lufthansa announced it plans to resume its flights to Mallorca (and other destinations) in June. If successful, tourists could be onboard those flights come July.
Tour operators would be expected to monitor travelers as they leave their origin country when they arrive at their destination airport and their contact on daily excursions.
Spain is currently imposing a 14-day quarantine on all international arrivals. The order will last until Spain’s state of emergency is lifted and the Spanish are allowed to move throughout their own country again.
Tourism makes up more than 12 percent of Spain’s economic output, according to Reuters, which reported that the country's tourism board suffered a significant drop in revenue.