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Spain betting on vaccine passports to revive summer tourism

A man walks past a closed bar in Madrid
A man walks past a closed bar in Madrid

Spain hopes the introduction of vaccination passports combined with pre-travel Covid-19 testing will allow British tourists to return to Spanish destinations this summer, a tourism ministry source told Reuters on Tuesday.

“We support the vaccination certificate but not as the only way to recuperate mobility, rather, as one of the means within a portfolio of measures including social distancing, pre-travel tests, mask-wearing,” the source said.

The government has no plans to introduce quarantines on foreign visitors, and was also counting on a wider agreement to be hammered out between Europe and Britain to remove restrictions on non-essential travel, the official added.

Over 2020, as global travel was dramatically curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, foreign tourism to Spain – one of the world’s most visited countries – fell 80 per cent to just 19 million visitors, a level not seen since 1969.

The industry’s contribution to gross domestic product tumbled to between four and five per cent, according to estimates from Funcas think-tank analyst Maria Jesus Fernandez, from a 12 per cent share in 2019.

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