SPAIN may open its doors to vaccinated British tourists this summer even if the European Union cannot agree a Covid-19 passport policy.
Madrid is considering a unilateral deal with the UK and a ‘green corridor’ for visitors who spent £18 billion in Spain in 2019 as Britain’s favourite destination before numbers plummeted last year.
Tourism minister Fernando Valdés said his government would seek to reach common agreement with all 27 EU member states but would probably consider going it alone if talks failed.
He said: “Right now, we have discussions with our colleagues in the UK. For us the British market is our main market; but obviously, since we are a member of the EU the solutions have first to be part of the discussion with the EU.
“And obviously, if that cannot be reached, we will be thinking of other corridors – like green corridors – with third countries that can help us restart tourism flows.”
In the UK, Secretary of State Matt Hancock has confirmed discussions are continuing with European and other governments and the EU to kickstart travel to other countries.
However, he believes it ‘crucial’ to enable people to travel who have been unable to get a jab. “As I understand it from the details set out. The EU proposal is that certification includes both whether you’ve had a vaccine and also whether you’ve recently had a test for those who can’t get vaccinated yet, which is particularly important – it matters we get the details right for international travel.”
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen hopes to publish draft legislation over a ‘travel pass’ on March 17 which would create a passport for vaccinated people traveling for both work and leisure – EU leaders would engage at a summit a week later.
And she added: “The aim is to provide proof that a person has been vaccinated; results of tests for those who couldn’t get a vaccine yet; info on covid-19 recovery. It will respect data protection, security and privacy.”