When the world gets moving again, quite a few map circles will land on Spain. You know, the country with the picture perfect islands, lovable cities, food worth flying in for and buzzy culture that can’t be imitated.
This is the land of late breakfast, even later supper and fun at every turn, and tourism authorities are already plotting how to safely bring visitors back, and when. Here’s what authorities are saying…
Spain’s 2021 Travel & Tourism Plans
Spain is a world leader in tourism. In fact, the country overtook the United States in the last few years as the second most visited country in the world, behind France.
The coming and going of people is huge business for the country, with literal billions on the line for the tourism industry each and every year, amid up to 82 million annual passenger arrivals. To ensure the safety of all visitors, Spain is taking the downtime of bustling travel to figure out how and when to reopen with sustainable measures.
According to Spanish Tourism authorities, Spain will begin reopening for wider tourism in April.
Juan Molas, the Director of Spanish Tourism believes the country will be ready to safely welcome back visitors from the beginning of April, based not only on the emergence of vaccines, but also improvements in technology and digitization.
Rapid tests are getting faster, more accurate and more affordable, and speed will also act to shore up long delays and logistical concerns which have kept people away. Spain has, and continues to invest significantly in acquiring testing technology resources at scale.
As Europe’s tourism leaders meet this week for an emergency session of the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization Summit, data sharing – such as access to testing or vaccination records – and rapid antigen testing is the focus. Juan Molas offered…
“We must think about delivery day. This will be at the beginning of April. There will be a recovery, yes, or yes, I have absolute confidence in it. First of all, we have to believe it ourselves, either because there will be a vaccine or because the tests at origin and destination will work,”Juan Molas, Spanish Tourism
Covid-19 vaccine distribution in each country is out of the hands of tourism officials, but will undoubtedly play the most critical role in shoring up future travel concerns. For now, tourism boards are most focused on rapid testing and data harnessing, so that passengers are presented with easy and seamless ways to safely move, without the strain of added requirements.
Authorities want to see test results or vaccination records, and a variety of solutions from one common app for all travelers, to physical health passports have been on the table. Tech based solutions tend to be the focus, in line with the digitization trend.
If Molas words are to be taken as literal, it sounds like Spain plans to test all arrivals before departure, and after arrival in the country. It’s unclear if any exceptions would be made for those already vaccinated, and which format will be chosen as the official record keeper.
Long story short: expect more rapid testing, some new apps and improved health protocols in Europe this summer, as travel gets moving again. And yes, it seems like most of Europe is planning for a full on summer of tourism.
Who Can Visit Spain When It Opens Up Tourism?
It’s completely unclear at this point who exactly will be welcomed to Spain, or the rest of Europe as tourism reboots, other than those already within Europe. Whether April holds also remains to be seen, but as of now, all indications are go. Even June would be very welcomed news.
Fairly, Government officials have been known to change course rather quickly in recent months, given rapid developments with vaccine rollout and new strains.
The European Union has kept the United States and other large traveling countries off approved visitor lists in response to the ongoing health crisis, but if vaccinations make a significant impact on worst case outcomes in the coming months, it could all change rather quickly.
With billions on the table, Spain and others will want to ensure as long of a season as possible, with as many high value visitors as possible, and that’s only possible if things remain safe for all.
If you’re missing Spain, it sounds like you’ll definitely get a chance to see it again this year. And depending on your passport, perhaps as early as April. Figuring out where to go? Here’s a guide to Barcelona versus Madrid. But really, you can’t go wrong.