The Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa, are very popular destinations with Britons hoping for an affordable break in the sun. But as coronavirus hit Europe, the islands and Spain were forced to close their doors like many other countries in an attempt to halt the spread of the deadly virus.
Spain was one of the worst hit countries in Europe with more than 278,000 cases and more than 27,000 deaths.
However, the country appears to now be slowly recovering, sparking hope for those seeking to enjoy a holiday abroad.
It has now been revealed that holidaymakers will be welcomed to parts of Spain “as soon as possible”.
Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya told the BBC Today programme that the aim is for Spain to become the “safest destination in Europe”.
She also said that she hopes her country will open in June but that the popular Canary Islands and Balearics will be first.
She said: “We are hoping to get tourists back as soon as possible but we are also conscious that, when we welcome them, we want to provide the safest destination in Europe.
“We want to make sure when they come they can continue to experience the amazing stay in Spain, whether they love sports or culture or cuisine or simply like our weather.
“But we want to make sure that at this moment, when every country is suffering from this pandemic, we can provide them with a safe and healthy experience – that’s top of our priorities right now.”
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She also said that the bigger cities such as Madrid and Barcelona that have suffered most from COVID-19 will not be able to open to tourists straight way.
The Foreign Minister added that she was unsure if tourists would be able to enjoy a summer break but remained optimistic.
She continued: “We’ve had one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe, but hope to end lockdown by the end of June.
“We are putting health first, making sure when we open the country first to Spaniards and then to tourists, everybody will be safe.”
She added: “Some of our territories, like the islands, are COVID-19 free.
“They can open faster.”
Spain recently imposed a strict lockdown rules on visitors arriving in the country.
Like the UK, anyone who arrives from another country will be asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days until they can mix with the general population.
However, the UK rules are not going to be coming into effect until next month, according to the UK’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
But Spain’s Foreign Minister said that she hopes the quarantine imposed on travellers will be relaxed in the future to help kickstart tourism.
She added: “Quarantine is necessary at the moment to prevent importation of Covid cases but this is a temporary measure.
“The moment we feel that the virus is under control, we will replace quarantine with other measures at the border.”
Published at Wed, 20 May 2020 15:36:00 +0000