Spain announces foreign tourism will resume in July, but it isn’t good news for everyone

Having enacted one of the toughest lockdown regimes in the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, Spain has now announced that their borders will be open to foreign tourists from July. However before you start packing a suitcase, it isn’t all good news.

Speaking on Saturday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that the country is now leaving “Phase 0” of the process. Starting in mid-March, Spain enforced strong measures to restrict any person to person contact, with even travel within the country totally banned. Their 5-step deescalation process will see a slow but steady movement towards normality, with small group gatherings and some major sporting leagues allowed to restart (albeit behind closed doors) in the coming weeks. By July, following in the footsteps of many other European countries, Spain expects to reopen its borders to foreign visitors, with Sanchez stating that:

I’m announcing to you that there will be a tourist season this year and I invite all tourist establishments to start to prepare from today to restart their activity in a few days from now“.

However there is a very strong and wise note of caution in his speech. Despite Spain’s R0 level, the rate at which the virus spreads, now dropping as low as 0.2, the Prime Minister made clear that while the battle is won, the war is far from over.

We are in the deescalation process, but we are still in a health emergency. We must act prudently and responsibly. Until a vaccine arrives everything will depend on each one of us. A new outbreak is far from impossible. There is a high percentage that there will be a new outbreak. Prudence must be the key to how we proceed.

Unfortunately for many people around the world, this will mean that a trip to Ibiza, or indeed other popular destinations in Europe, is far from certain. As it stands, the UK Foreign Office is not allowing non-essential travel to other countries, and largely thanks to a poor approach to lockdown measures by a small but significant number of Brits, the infection rate in the UK is still around R0.7-1. A further announcement is due in late May/early June about how the country will reduce lockdown measures, but with the UK already on a black-list for travel to countries such as Greece, now would not be the time to start booking tickets. Similarly, the Americas are now seeing a continual and steady escalation of the outbreak, so it is likely that anyone from across the Atlantic will also be unable to visit the likes of Ibiza in the near future.

The lesson is clear however, as Prime Minister Sanchez himself stated:

“We have achieved this not by luck, but with determination. We have taken the correct path. The Spanish people have forced the virus to retreat.

If only the same could be said for every nation around the world.


Image Credit: Florian Wehde on Unsplash