THE Balearic islands have announced that they wish to be the first place in Europe to welcome travellers who have received the COVID-19 jab and have the paperwork to prove it.

The news comes after the Spanish Minister for Tourism, Maria Reyes Maroto, described Spain as ‘the most active champions of digital vaccine passports’.

In the same statement, Maroto referred to a pilot scheme from last year which granted thousands of German tourists entry to the Balearic islands a week before Spain officially reopened its borders to international travel.

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PERMISSION TO FLY: Mallorca in particular is popular with German tourists and would welcome a vaccine passport

“We were pioneers with the Balearic travel corridor, by becoming the only country to open during the pandemic, and we’re working on being pioneers again and putting our foot on the accelerator,” she explained.

“We have created an inter-ministerial commission presided over by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to facilitate the use of digital Covid certificates and be able to launch a pilot project to test their efficiency when the pandemic allows us to.”

Maroto’s announcement came days after Spain’s Secretary for Tourism, Fernando Valdes, confirmed that a bilateral travel plan could be struck with the UK if the EU fails to reach an agreement on vaccine passports.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said that the EU is hoping to publish draft legislation on a ‘digital green pass’ on March 17.

The aim of this pass is threefold: 1) to provide proof of vaccination; 2) to include the results of tests for those who have not yet been immunised; 3) to provide medical certificates for those who have recovered from the virus.

However, it may still be months before the scheme is introduced.

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