23 Apr, 2021 @ 20:30
1 min read

OPINION: It’s time Spain opened up to British tourists

Tourists arrive in Spain Coronavirus airport

THE big question on all our minds, from hotel and restaurant staff who fear the tourist industry can’t survive another COVID summer, to those desperate to see and hug relatives that they have been separated from since the pandemic struck, to holiday home owners keen to revisit their property in the Spanish sun, is when will we be able to travel freely to and from Spain?

News that Spain is now in the grip of a dreaded fourth wave may have put a dampener on hopes that the country could open again in time for the summer season, but there is still reason to be optimistic.

For Spain is coping rather better than it has when other waves hit thanks, in part, to the fact that the strain of the coronavirus that was first detected in the UK and is therefore known as the British variant is to blame for more than 80% of recent infections.

Tourists arrive in Spain Coronavirus airport

Although that strain has lived up to its reputation and proved to be far more contagious than the original, it hasn’t proved more lethal and Spain’s hospital beds aren’t filling up to crisis occupancy with new cases.

In fact, its prevalence is thought to be keeping out other potentially more dangerous strains.

One of the criteria that could see destinations put on the ‘red’ list of a new traffic light scheme proposed by the British government that will determine whether travellers have to quarantine or not is likely to be based on the strains prevalent in that country.

So countries with high incidence rates of dangerous new strains such as Brazil and South Africa are likely to automatically require enforced quarantine, most probably in designated hotels at huge cost to the traveller, those where the British variant is dominant may yet escape such a measure.

So if the British strain is already rampant in Spain and with half of Britons already vaccinated with their first dose, it makes no sense to stop tourists from the UK from enjoying a trip to Spain this summer.

Come on Spain … do the right thing! Let them in!


Fiona Govan

Fiona Govan joined The Olive Press in March 2021. She moved to Spain in 2006 to be The Daily Telegraph’s Madrid correspondent and then worked for six years as Editor of The Local Spain. She lives in Madrid’s Malasaña district with her dog Rufus.

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