Spain said on Saturday it would open its doors to British tourists from Sunday without requiring them to spend two weeks in quarantine, opening up to one of its largest tourism markets after the hit from the coronavirus pandemic.
“We will allow British visitors to enter Spain just like the rest of the European Union or Schengen area from 21 June freely and without the need for the quarantine,” foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told BBC News.
But as much as Spain wants to welcome British tourists, the UK’s current quarantine measures, requiring a two-week period of self-isolation for most people entering the country from abroad, may well put off some potential travelers.
Spain will end its coronavirus state of emergency, imposed on March 14, on Sunday, and will open its borders to EU and Schengen area countries for a much needed boost to its tourism industry.
Gonzalez Laya said British travelers would be subject to the same “triple check” as other European visitors, which consists of checking their origin, taking their temperature and providing contact details in case they need to be traced.
“We want to make sure we welcome visitors but do so in safety and security for them as well as for Spaniards,” she said.
Spain is still in discussions over whether the UK will similarly lift quarantine measures for Spaniards, she said. But it was opening its borders “out of respect for the 400,000 British citizens who have second residences in Spain” and who are “dying to benefit” from them.
Britons account for more than a fifth of the roughly 80 million tourists Spain receives every year.
Britain, which has reported more than 42,500 deaths from coronavirus, and Spain, with over 28,300, are among the countries hardest hit by COVID-19.
Spain will open its border to neighboring Portugal on July 1.