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COVID-19 RULES

Spain eases Covid entry for unvaccinated tourists

Spain on Saturday eased Covid entry rules for unvaccinated tourists from outside the European Union, in a boost for the key tourism sector ahead of the peak summer holidays.

Spain eases Covid entry for unvaccinated tourists
Tourists arrive at Son Sant Joan airport in Palma de Mallorca on June 28th, 2021. Until now travellers from outside the bloc could only enter with proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. Photo by JAIME REINA / AFP

Until now travellers from outside the bloc — including Spain’s main tourism market Britain — could only enter with proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19.

But as of Saturday visitors from outside of the EU will also be allowed to enter Spain with a negative Covid test result, the transport ministry said in a statement.

PCR tests must be carried out in the 72 hours prior to departure to Spain or an antigen test 24 hours prior to departure.

Tourism Minister Maria Reyes Maroto said the “new phase of the pandemic” meant the country was able to relax the rules by equating non-EU travellers with those of the bloc.

“This is excellent news, much awaited by the tourism sector, which will make it easier for tourists outside of Europe to visit us during the high season,” she added in the statement.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from submitting any type of certificate.

With sunny beaches and a rich architectural heritage, Spain was the world’s second most visited country before the pandemic, with 83.5 million foreign visitors in 2019.

But international travel restrictions related to the pandemic brought Spain’s tourism sector to its knees in 2020 as it welcomed just 19 million tourists.

The figure rose to 31.1 million in 2021, far below the government forecast of 45 million arrivals.

READ ALSO: Spain lifts Covid-19 checks at French border

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TRAVEL NEWS

Ryanair strike in Spain: 54 flights cancelled and 300 delayed on Thursday

Fifty-four Ryanair flights to and from Spain were cancelled on Thursday and several hundred others delayed during an ongoing strike by the low-cost airline’s cabin staff.

Ryanair strike in Spain: 54 flights cancelled and 300 delayed on Thursday

The strike which took place as European schools were breaking up for the summer was the latest stoppage by European airline staff demanding better conditions.

By 8:00 pm (1800 GMT), 54 flights had been cancelled and more than 300 delayed, with the airports in Barcelona and Malaga worst-hit, the USO union said.

Although Ryanair had said all scheduled flights would be operating, the airline “had not called in the full crew” at certain airports.

“The crew members that were not called in have joined the strike while those that were, went to the airports.. but there were not enough of them to operate the flights,” it said.

The strike by Ryanair cabin crew in Spain, where there are some 1,900 employees, is affecting 10 of the airline bases in the country and is due to run until July 2nd.

Earlier, the airline said flight disruption through the strike was “minimal” and only affected three percent of its Spanish flights.

The employees, who are demanding better working conditions, began an initial three-day strike on June 24 during which 129 Spanish flights were cancelled, the union said.

USO union representative Ernesto Iglesias (C) talks to the press during a Ryanair employees strike at Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas airport Madrid on June 24, 2022. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Ryanair is the airline that transports the most passengers in the Spanish market, offering more than 650 routes to 27 airports, the company says.

The initial strike in Spain coincided with industrial action by the airline’s staff in Portugal, Belgium, Italy and France demanding respect for labour rights and higher wages.

On Friday, staff with rival low-cost airline EasyJet will also be striking for the first of three weekends in July demanding parity in working conditions in line with other European airlines.

READ ALSO: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

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