Speaking to Sky News on Thursday, Tourism Secretary Fernando Valdes discussed the possibility of a travel corridor between the UK and Spain this summer as Madrid looks to restart the country’s vitally important holiday industry.
“We are desperate to welcome you… We will be ready here in Spain and we also think things with the vaccination scheme in the UK are going pretty well so, hopefully, we will see this summer the restart of holidays,” he stated.
Valdes noted that “safe tourism is key in this matter,” and said talks have been taking place with British authorities to come to an agreement over the use of vaccine certificates.
I believe [vaccine] certificates will help us…. This certificate is going to ease travelers and help tourism from this summer on.
Any agreement with the UK on a vaccine passport will likely need to be compatible with the EU’s own scheme. European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders has suggested the bloc’s “digital green certificate” will be operational by June 21.
Valdes claimed that if an agreement is reached by June, it will be possible to have a fairly normal summer, albeit not the same as the normality of 2019.
Spain, where the vaccination program has been notoriously slow, mirroring most of the EU, will vaccinate its 10 millionth person on Thursday. Infection rates remain high as the third wave sweeps across mainland Europe. Meanwhile, infection rates in the UK have fallen dramatically, reaching 25.2 cases per 100,000 people, considerably lower than almost anywhere on the continent and down from over 350 in January.
London will also be keen to avoid a repeat of 2020. Last fall, experts suggested that the resurgence of Covid-19 in the UK was down to imported variants from Spain, brought into the country by returning holidaymakers. A Spanish variant accounted for around 80% of all cases in Scotland and Wales in mid-September.