Spanish tourism gets worried over new UK travel restrictions

 Wednesday, August 4, 2021 


The tourism industry of Spain is experiencing a new obstacle in its competition to save its summer season. The outcome of this will immensely depend on the UK decisions wherein the government is divided between the one who are in support of easing down travel restrictions and those who want to introduce stringent rules.

If restrictions are made stringent, it would deliver a massive blow to the tourism sector of Spain that depends significantly on British visitors. UK tourists in 2019 accounted for more than 20% of overall arrivals and spent a €500 million a week collectively in August. Also, the year 2019 marked a record year in terms of overall international arrivals, 83.7 million, and majority of them had come from Britain, Germany and France.

In the meantime, the Health Ministry of Spain has taken a decision to raise flight bans from Brazil and South Africa. Since February, the ban has been in place. Beginning on Tuesday, these flights will be considered “high risk” and passengers will be compelled to quarantine for 10 days. For travelers from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Namibia, the same quarantine condition goes into effect on August 3.

At present, Spain is in UK’s amber list. This means that travelers will have to self-isolate for 10 days upon their return from Spanish territory. Nevertheless, people who are fully vaccinated are exempted from this rule. This puts Spain practically on the green list since 56.5% of residents from Britain have been immunized completely.

“There wasn’t a boom in bookings by British nationals [when it emerged that they could travel to Spain without quarantining upon return], but they have been coming in at a constant rate ever since then,” confirmed a spokesperson for the hotel chain Riu.

“We noticed a drop in bookings by the British market following the decision to include the Balearic Islands on the amber list once again, but things have been stabilizing since then. The changes in restrictions are affecting all source markets,” said a source at the chain Playasol Ibiza Hotels.

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