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Spain Plans to Welcome All Global Travelers in June
Photo by Shutterstock Barcelona is a very real possibility this summer.
U.S. travelers cannot enter Spain at this time “except for exceptional reasons,” reports Spain’s official tourism website, which now lists June 30 as the earliest entry date for nonessential travel. Intrepid travelers who had already booked trips to Spain for early June—following an April 27 announcement that the country would reopen—now find themselves scrambling to change plans, as do the airlines. Iberia Airlines, Spain’s flagship carrier, has been tweeting out apologies to travelers as of June 1, with information about issuing vouchers for the amount of their tickets.
“Spain is going to be ready in June to tell all travelers worldwide that you can visit us,” Fernando Valdes Verelst, Spain’s secretary of state for tourism, said during an April 27 panel discussion at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Global Summit in Cancun, Mexico.
“The best thing that governments right now can provide to travelers is certainty. Give the proper information and the security that they can travel and they can come back to [our] countries,” Verelst said.
Several European countries have been pivoting reopening plans of late due to the threat of coronavirus variants, though it’s unclear if this is the reason behind Spain’s postponement. “We believe most of Europe will open together so we are waiting for each other to be ready . . . France, Portugal, Germany,” says Virginia Irurita, founder and executive partner of Made for Spain and Portugal luxury travel agency.
Spain was also prepared to implement a digital health certificate in May, following a pilot program in all the country’s 46 airports. However, it was not on the list of seven European countries to launch the first official EU Digital COVID Certificate on June 1. (Those countries are Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, and Poland.)
Once implemented, the EU Digital COVID Certificate is free and accessible to all—it’s available both in a digital and paper format, offering a secure and verified QR code to those who can provide proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or a negative COVID-19 test result.
All travelers will also be expected to fill out a preregistration form and provide a negative COVID result from a PCR test (not an antigen test) taken within 72 hours of arriving in Spain.
“Due to the constant updating of the information regarding the restrictions and measures caused by COVID-19 contained on this website, before travelling, you must always consult the requirements and recommendations of the public bodies and competent national authorities bodies in each country. The information found on this website is not binding and has no regulatory effect,” reminds the Travel Safe site for Spain tourism.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, told the New York Times that the European Union “will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by EMA [the European Medicines Agency].” The three vaccines that have been approved for use in the United States—Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson—have all been approved for use in Europe.
“This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union,” she said.
While Von der Leyen did not say exactly when the European Commission would formalize its recommendations to allow vaccinated Americans to bypass the current ban on travel to Europe, other European leaders, including now the Spanish tourism secretary, have indicated that this summer is indeed the goal.
A handful of European countries aren’t waiting and have already started opening up to travelers who are either vaccinated or present negative COVID-19 test results, including Greece and Iceland.
On April 19, the Greek government began a phased reopening of its borders, marking the first time international travelers could visit the Mediterranean country since Europe’s borders closed in March 2020.
Iceland relaxed its border restrictions for vaccinated travelers in late March 2021, which followed similar moves by Croatia, Estonia, and Georgia (Montenegro and Cyprus have since joined the pack as well).
Spain is experiencing about 4,262 new cases per day, on average, and about 23 deaths per day, as of June 3. The country has experienced a total of 3.69 million cases, and nearly 81,000 deaths due to COVID-19, as of June 4. Nearly 19 million people in Spain have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of June 1, and 21 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.
Currently only citizens and residents of the European Union, along with travelers from the European Commission–approved countries of Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand, can enter Spain.
This article was originally published in April 28, 2021. It was updated June 4, 2021, with new information.
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