Holidays: Tourism Secretary ‘desperate’ to welcome Brits to Spain
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Spain’s archipelagos could make it onto the green list if their coronavirus figures and vaccine rates are deemed “safe” by the UK Government. It comes following comments from Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps that an “island approach” will be taken into consideration.
This means even if mainland Spain does not make it onto the “green list”, the Balearics or Canary Islands could gain a spot.
The transport secretary told an online ConservativeHome event he was in favour of an “islands approach”.
He said: “I want to do that again. I don’t want to go backwards, I want to go forwards”.
Mr Shapps added: “European travel this summer depends on their vaccine regime.”
Ahead of this, Balearic tourist hotspot Menorca is confident in its “low Covid cases”.
According to Spain’s Ministry of Health, the Balearic Islands as a whole have an accumulated COVID-19 rate of 26.29 per 100,000 residents versus a rate of 112.58 for the whole of Spain.
Susana Mora, president and minister of Tourism in Menorca said: “During the pandemic, transparency is vital and we feel it is important to showcase the nuanced situation in the Balearic Islands.
“Thankfully, Menorca has had a relatively low number of cases but we continue to put safety at the centre of our reopening strategy.
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“The UK is usually the number one source market for travel to Menorca and we are very eager to welcome British visitors back to the island as soon as possible.
“We feel our COVID numbers, together with the processes that have been in place, and the island’s sophisticated tourism and health infrastructure mean we are well placed to welcome back visitors.”
The region publishes a weekly report on its latest Covid statistics on the Menorca website.
According to this report, approximately 21 percent of Menorca’s residents have received the first dose of their vaccine.
Vaccination rates, as well as Covid case data, will be considered by the UK Government’s Global Travel Taskforce when deciding which countries to place on the “green list”.
Nacho Gozalbo, commercial director for Palladium Hotel Group which has accommodation across Spain, said the “island approach” will help to boost opportunities for “safe travel”.
“We are eagerly awaiting the update on the green list and welcome the news that islands could be considered separately,” he told Express.co.uk.
“We do believe that safe travel to the Balearics can be resumed with a reliable testing programme pre-departure and prior to returning.”
At the time of writing the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is advising against “all but essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic Islands.”
Mr Gozalbo continued: “For many businesses in the islands, the reopening of international travel from the UK is vital.
“Given the position, we feel that travel to the Balearic Islands should be included within the green list and permitted from 17 May onwards.
“We remain hopeful.”
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