Thecoronavirus brought tourism activity to a haltin half the world from the middle of March. Two and a half months later, the race to revive tourism has begun. To the pressure of the Mediterranean countries like Greece or Italy to take control of the few visitors who will plan their vacations outside their borders this summer Spain is added. The second country that receives more tourists in the world has no intention of falling behind and giving up its title:will begin to receive tourists from June 22. “There will be a tourist season,” said the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, paraphrasing Pedro Sánchez.

Spain had set July 1 as the official dayin which foreign tourism will be welcomed, but the evolution of politics -with the fall of the state of alarm- and pressure from competing countries and the sector open a new scenario in which any region can begin to receive tourists to Starting June 22 if you do so under the established security conditions.The first to safely fulfill this condition will be the islands, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands., according to Maroto.

In addition, the Executive has always maintained – in the words of the ministers Ábalos and Illa- thatquarantines would be maintained as long as movements within Spain are prohibited, and Sánchez has already announced that on June 21 it will be possible to travel all over the country again. The current standard, published in the BOE, is only effective “during the validity of the alarm state”.

But there are those who have already gone ahead. Italy, the first European country affected by covid-19, decided this Wednesday to open its borders; Belgium plans to do the same on June 15, the date until the recommendation of the European Union to the member states to keep the borders of the Schengen area closed, so the countdown of reopens begins. Among them, that of competing countries such as Greece, Portugal or Croatia, whichthey test the possibility of opening on June 15, although with nuances, in order to be the first in the platoon.

The attractiveness of Spain, with 20.1 million tourists in summer, is not comparable to that of its competitors. But it is also not foreseeable that the same number of people will travel as last year due to the fear of contagion, the lower predisposition to family spending and the late start of the opening. “I do not think that this summer we are in a position for a rapid recovery“, explained the president of the Amadeus reservation company, Luis Maroto, in a seminar organized by the Spanish Association of Directors.” Not even jokingly, the affluence levels of last year will be registered, “Exceltur vice president agreed a few days ago, José Luis Zoreda.

Precisely, the extraordinary situation means that, with all the Mediterranean countries on the starting line, the first to advance can win the first marathon, regardless of their previous CV. Entrepreneurs and autonomous communities have insisted this week on bringing forward the reopening. One of the last has been the president of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, who warned the government on Monday that countries like Greece, Italy and Portugal could “stay with tourists” this summer. In the same line as the president of Pimec, Josep González, who assured this Tuesday that waiting for July could be “too late”.

“Safe routes”

The Executive’s plan is to establish a“gradual, coordinated and non-discriminatory” openness to the beat of the European Union. “We must avoid that each State unilaterally decides that it is a safe destination,” Reyes Maroto insisted on Tuesday. The intention is to establish tourist corridors with citizens and safe areas that are in the same epidemiological situation. “We also studyimplement safe routes with third countriesas long as they are at the same epidemiological level as us and we generate reciprocity, “added the minister on Wednesday.

Gloria Guevara, president of the World Travel & Tourism Council tourism lobi, considers it essential thatgovernments “work with each other to achieve a coordinated reopening”. The application of protocols is, according to Guevara, an essential element to recover the traveler’s confidence and avoid differences between countries: “It must be standard anywhere in the world.” In this sense, the Minister of Transport,José Luis Ábalos announced this Wednesday the “next” approval of a norm that sets the hygiene and prevention protocolsto be followed by the air sector to guarantee security against the virus on flights. Measures that “should be followed by airports, airlines and travelers” in order to “mitigate infections and guarantee safe flights and travel.”

Germany still recommends not traveling

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has announced that Germany will raise travel alerts for 29 European countries on June 15, including all of the EU except Spain, although according to the head of Spanish diplomacy,Arancha González-Laya, it is an “agreed” movement. Germany is the second largest emitter of tourists to Spain, with 11 million travelers in 2019, only behind the 18 million that came from the United Kingdom and at a similar level to that of France.

Austria, which also softens conditions in its neighboring countries less than Italy, maintains the requirement of 14 days of quarantine or a negative test for those arriving from Spain. “We are going in the right direction and our goal is to restore total freedom of travel. When that will be possible with Spain, I cannot say at the moment, “said Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.