The Spanish prime minister has declared his country will re-open to European visitors from next Sunday.
But only travellers from the European Union and the wider Schengen area will be permitted from 21 June. Visitors from the UK are likely to have to wait until 1 July to be admitted.
Pedro Sánchez made the announcement on the eve of Spain’s reopening to international tourism, involving a pilot programme of holidays to Mallorca for German citizens.
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Previously 1 July had been set as the key reopening date for a country heavily dependent on foreign holidaymakers.
But El País reports that the Spanish leader told a conference of regional presidents that unrestricted tourism for many Europeans would be accelerated by 10 days.
The current 14-day quarantine requirements that Spain imposes on arrivals will be lifted on the same day.
Spain’s reopening of its borders coincides with the end of the “state of alarm” that began three months ago when the government imposed a strict lockdown.
The frontier with Portugal will remain closed until 1 July, when a special border ceremony will be attended by both the Spanish and Portuguese prime ministers.
On the same day, citizens from some countries outside the Schengen zone will be admitted.
The prime minister said: “From July 1, borders with third countries, outside Schengen, will be opened in stages.”
Simon Hunter, the editor of the English-language edition of El País said: ”As has often been the case, it’s a little confusing. He doesn’t specifically mention the UK.”
The foreign affairs minister, Arancha González, later tweeted confirmation: “Spain will open its borders with EU and Schengen area countries as from 21 June with the end of the state of alarm and end of quarantine.
“With third countries as from 1 July depending on epidemiological situation and with safety measures “
Mr Sánchez has recently expressed concern about the number of cases in the US and Russia. Other Spanish politicians, including the tourism minister, have raised doubts about visitors from the UK because of the high level of coronavirus infections.
But Vicent Torres, deputy director of the Balearic Islands Tourism Board, said: “We look forward to welcoming our British visitors back as soon as possible.”
Europe’s two biggest budget airlines, easyJet and Ryanair, are re-launching flights at scale between UK and Spanish airports on 1 July.
Spain’s decision is currently academic for most British holidaymakers.
Since 17 March the Foreign Office has warned against all-but-essential travel anywhere abroad, and since 8 June all arrivals to the UK, including returning British holidaymakers, are subject to two weeks of quarantine.
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