Spain is in talks with Britain to establish a travel corridor for vaccinated Brits looking to travel this summer. While the EU is working towards a health passport across the bloc, Spain is also making plans if such a project does not come through. British tourists are a key market for Spanish tourism, making quarantine-free travel very important for any recovery.
According to an interview in Bloomberg, Spain is considering travel corridors with non-EU countries if the bloc cannot reach an agreement. In particular, the country wants to see British tourists returning to the nation this summer, a major source of revenue for the beleaguered sector.
The resumption of tourism would be through so-called “green lanes” or travel bubbles that allow vaccinated travelers to fly quarantine-free. Both countries will have to establish a common standard to prove vaccinations for travel to resume. This work is already underway, with Spain in talks with the UK authorities about the same.
When it comes to vaccinations, the UK is racing ahead of its fellow European countries. Britain has given one dose of the vaccine to over 30% of its population, while Spain lags behind at just over 5%. However, both countries expect to see large parts of the population receive their shots by this summer.
The comments come just a day after European Council President Ursula von der Leyen revealed an upcoming EU-wide health passport. While details are yet to arrive, the passport will provide details about vaccinations, test results (for those still unvaccinated), and COVID-19 recovery information.
Enacting this at an EU scale would allow travel within the bloc to quickly open up and clear the way for third countries to return as well. More details about the passport will be available by the end of the month. However, Spain is making contingency plans just in case the EU framework does not work out (some countries have raised concerns).
The vaccines are here, rollouts have started, and passengers are getting ready to travel. But aviation lacks one key thing: a common standard. While IATA has been pushing its digital passport, other airlines and governments have been looking at their own applications. For international travel to restart fully, establishing a singular vaccine framework will be essential.
As infection levels fall globally, governments are slowly prioritizing the reopening of the aviation and tourism industries. While travel is unlikely to bounce back to 2019 levels any time soon, it will likely be much higher year than last year’s figures.
What do you think of Spain’s decision to form travel bubbles? Will we see a common health passport soon? Let us know in the comments!