Tourism Recommencing in Late June?

Many people are sharing an article by ‘SpainToday’ based on comments made by The Minister of Transport, José Luis Ábalos, in a television interview on Monday 18th May 2020. They quote him as saying “just as soon as Spanish residents can travel between provinces, foreigners will be able to enter the country freely”.

We are not saying these comments are necessarily wrong, however we think it prudent to remember that the Spanish Health Ministry have previously condemned ministers of other departments making announcements on topics affecting the Covid-19 regulations when they are not in a position to do so – the health ministry pointing out that they alone can take such decisions.

Whether or not the comments of Ábalos turn out to be true, we would certainly question the appropriateness of using the word ‘freely’. Everything we have seen suggests that the return of tourism will be cautious, gradual and regulated. To suggest that international tourists will be able to arrive ‘freely’ at the same time Spain’s internal movement restrictions are lifted may be either wishful thinking, poor translation, a poorly worded speech, or clickbait, but without wishing to dash people’s hopes, we just cannot see it as being so.

Tourists may well start to be allowed entry to Spain towards the end of June, but it will almost certainly be in a controlled and regulated manner initially. This is reflected by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s comments in his Saturday address this week when he said “Spain needs tourism, but tourism needs safety, it needs health guarantees. We must overcome the health emergency in order to reactivate tourist activity.”