During a televised address to the nation yesterday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told viewers that Spain would be open to international tourists from July 1. In his speech, the 48-year-old politician said that the tourist sector should start preparing for a summer influx of visitors and that the country’s top-flight soccer league La Liga would resume play in June.
As the COVID-19 virus took hold, Spain imposed some of the strictest lockdown measures in Europe to help stop the spread of the disease.
Spain had a very strict lockdown
Spanish daily newspaper El Pais (The Country) quotes the Socialist Party (PSOE) leader of saying the below:
“The hardest part is over; we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Now the epicenter has moved to other parts of the planet, as is happening, for example, on the American continent. The response of the Spanish people has been formidable. Everyone has fulfilled their mission, and they came together to deal with the epidemic.”
“The first achievement: to flatten the curve,” he continued. “The second achievement: when those who have recovered exceed new infections. The third achievement will be to reduce the spread of the virus as much as possible. Yesterday the reproduction rate was 0.20. Today we can say that we have achieved this not by luck, but with determination. We have taken the correct path. The Spanish people have forced the virus to retreat.”
Spain will exit the lockdown in stages
To come out of the lockdown, Spain has implemented a four-phase plan designed to open up businesses and get people back to work gradually. During the easing, individual regions are judged to see if they meet the criteria to move on to the next phase. In the first phase, people were able to meet with family and friends, and bars were allowed to reopen their outdoor terraces. Madrid and Barcelona remained in lockdown as they were behind the rest of the country in controlling the virus.
As we now prepare to enter the next stage in the government’s plan, we will see businesses begin to reopen and vibrancy return to the streets. While the Prime Minister understood the people’s desire to move forward quickly, Sanchez pointed out that there was still another month before Spain would be back to normal.
A welcoming approach
When speaking about Tourism, the Prime Minister encouraged Spaniards to start planning their summer holidays. Additionally, from July, Spain would once more be welcoming foreign tourists.
“We must begin to restart economic activity,” he said. “Some of these sectors are hostelry and tourism, which have a fundamental role in the creation of employment. The moment has arrived. I’m announcing to you that there will be a tourist season this year, and I invite all tourist establishments to start to prepare from today to restart their activity in a few days from now.”
Spain relies on tourism for over 10% of its GDP and has around 2.5 million people working in the tourism industry. The vast majority of people holidaying in Spain come from the United Kingdom and the European Union. With regards to the UK, the current quarantine measures that are in place would prevent people from holidaying abroad. There is one month still to go before Spain opens up to foreigners,. Therefore, you can be sure that behind the scenes there will be talks of exceptions for certain countries.
Nearly all of Europe’s low-cost carriers like Ryanair, easyJet, Jet2, and Eurowings rely on the summer travel season for a large part of their earnings and will be pushing hard for governments to build air bridges to countries that are deemed safe. This week, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary called for the UK Government to adjust its upcoming quarantine rules. He is in favor of masks and social distancing.
I would bet that the UK quarantine will be lifted before the end of June. What do you think? Please let us know in the comments.