SPAIN will allow cruise ships to dock in its ports from June 7, the government said on Saturday, in another boost for the stricken tourism sector.

The announcement was posted in the Official State Gazette (BOE) on Saturday amid falling COVID-19 infection rates across Spain and with the vaccination drive progressing as planned.

Cruise ships have been banned from docking in ports across mainland Spain and its islands since March 2020 when the pandemic hit.

A number of high-profile spreader events were linked to cruise liners around the world in the early part of last year before such travel was stopped as the world locked down.

The ban continued even after the country loosened restrictions by air after the strict lockdown was lifted with a June 23 resolution by Spain’s Directorate General of Shipping (DGMM).

“Shipping companies will have to comply with measures established by the health ministry … to guarantee total security, both for cruise passengers and for the cities where they land,” the transport ministry tweeted on Saturday.

Before the pandemic, Spain was Europe’s second-most popular destination for cruise ship stopovers, the transport ministry said, indicating it played an important economic role for the Spanish economy.

In 2019, international cruises contributed around 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) to Spain’s GDP, accounting for some 50,000 jobs and 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in wages, the ministry said, citing figures from the Cruise Lines International Association.

This latest news comes in the wake of an announcement by Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez that people from anywhere in the world would be allowed to enter the country from June 7, provided they were fully vaccinated.

On Friday, Sanchez also confirmed that from June 7 Spain would be taking part in a trial of the EU Covid-19 certificate that will allow those who can prove immunity either through vaccine record, PCR test or recent recovery from coronavirus, to travel easily between member states.

Travellers from the UK have, since May 24, been allowed in to Spain without the need for a PCR test, although Spain remains on the UK’s amber list as a travel destination.


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