Goodbye to the bolt. Spain reopened this Sunday its generalized form to the rest of the countries of the European Union. The restoration of freedom of movement in the Schengen area, closed for the first time in the history of the European club on March 17, entails the return of tourism but contains some significant nuances.
To enter in the UK, Spanish citizens will need to go through a 14-day quarantine, which in practice makes any tourist trip impossible, until the next day 29. Denmark will not allow its arrival until the 27 and the reopening with the Portuguese neighbor will take place on July 1 in a symbolic act presided over by the King, Felipe VI. The flow of people is again free of restrictions with the rest of the Schengen countries, including Germany, France, Italy or the Netherlands, and others from abroad such as Croatia or Bulgaria.
The withdrawal of border controls with the other continents and especially with the United States, one of the countries most affected by the pandemic and which still does not allow the arrival of Europeans, is a matter of debate in Brussels and the only sure thing is that it will be progressive.
All travelers disembarking in Spain will have to pass three primary controls, announced on Friday the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa. One will be documentary, another about temperature and another visual. Those who do not pass any will be “examined by a doctor”. To comply with these measures, 100 more professionals have been incorporated into the Foreign Health Service, which already had 600 personnel.
Pilot project in the Balearic Islands
Controls on the entry of foreigners have already had their pilot project this week in the Balearic Islands. The tourist corridor between the archipelago and Germany has brought 3,500 tourists spread over 16 flights and the health authorities have not detected any contagion between them so far. Illa said on Friday that the outbreaks that Germany has recently suffered, an especially serious one in a meat plant in Guetersloh, with at least 1,029 cases, “do not endanger” the reopening of borders and trusted that the European partners will apply the measures to guarantee that “people with symptoms” do not land in Spain.
The newcomers, received last Monday with great media attention at the Son Sant Joan airport in Palma de Mallorca, They declared feeling “very safe” and going in search of the usual, “sun and beautiful beaches.”
Aid to the tourist sector
The cessation of border restrictions responds to the European plan to save the tourist season. The sector generated 12.3% of Spanish GDP (about 148,000 million euros) and directly employed 2.62 million people in 2018, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE). In 2019, 83.7 million visitors arrived in Spain. The losses at the international level caused by the pandemic in the first quarter of this 2020 were 73,000 million euros according to the World Tourism Organization.
The Government has made the recovery of this economic engine one of its priorities, with a package of concrete stimulus measures. Among them, a line of ICO guarantees of 2,500 million and 850 million to provide the sector with greater competitiveness through sustainability and digitization programs. To regain confidence in Spain as a safe destination, a marketing program has been launched with various promotions and a new portal: spain.info. In addition, tourism companies would be among the beneficiaries of the extension of the ERTE that the executive negotiates with the social partners.