Spain will be ready to welcome back tourists from June, the country’s tourism minister has said – giving hope to many British holidaymakers.
The European Union has previously set out plans for coronavirus vaccine certificates that could be used as a way to open up the continent to tourists once more.
Digital Green Certificates will be accepted as “proof” a person had a Covid-19 jab, received a negative test result or recovered from the virus, according to the European Commission’s proposal.
Spain – which welcomed 18 million Brits in 2019 – says a digital certificate scheme is currently being trialled with a view to a wider rollout in June.
Spain’s tourism minister Fernando Valdes Verelst told a travel and tourism conference in Mexico: «I think the best thing that governments right now can provide to travellers is certainty, give the proper information and the security that they can travel and they can come back to the countries.
«In those terms, in the European Union, we put in place a system … that provides us with digital certificate.
«Spain is going to be ready in June to use this digital certificate. We are doing a pilot programme in May, in all our 46 airports.
«We are going to give all these travellers that certainty. Spain is going to be ready in June to tell all travellers worldwide that you can visit us.»
Portugal too has signalled British holidaymakers could be welcomed from the «middle of May».
Asked when the country will be opening its borders to tourists»Portugal’s ambassador to the UK, Manuel Lobo Antunes, told Sky News: “As soon as possible, this is not just a unilateral matter, we have to coordinate this issue with our British friends and the UK government.
«But we are hopeful, as we have been saying for these last months, that from the middle of May, regular mobility between the UK and Portugal and vice versa, can be established, that’s our hope.”
Asked if Britons who have not been vaccinated can travel into the country, he added: «Yes, that’s the idea, that’s what we wanted, to as much as possible go back to the regime that existed before the pandemic.
«It’s in that direction we are working and that is possible.»
Coronavirus – What you need to know
The UK government has not yet confirmed whether foreign holidays will be permitted from May 17 – the earliest possible date under the roadmap.
Details of which destinations people might be allowed to visit without self-isolating on their return are also yet to be released.
Announcing the findings of the Global Travel Taskforce earlier this month, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps did confirm a traffic light system would be used to categorise countries based on risk.
In a trading update on Tuesday, low cost carrier Jet2 said they were concerned over a lack of details for international travel restarting this summer.
The company said: «Unsurprisingly, given the short-term uncertainty, customers are booking significantly closer to departure for summer 21.»
The airline added it was “disappointed at the lack of clarity contained in the Task Force’s report, in particular the as yet to be populated ‘traffic light’ framework for destinations, and full details and cost of the associated testing regime.”
Jet2 had already cancelled all holidays until June 24 in the hope of gaining more clarity on what travel can take place.
A UK government spokesperson said: “Ensuring free and open travel with our European partners is vitally important which is why we will be engaging the European Commission on reopening travel routes from the UK shortly.”