The government of Spain has said that Spain plans to achieve its goal of receiving nearly 45 million international tourists by the end of this year.
According to the authorities of the southwestern European country, these numbers can be reached despite travel restrictions and other bans on Britons – its main market – due to the rapid spread of the delta variant, TheSchengen.com reports.
Spain’s Tourism Minister, Maria Reyes Maroto, said she hopes the country will still be able to recover half of international tourism this year, as she says, “a wise goal.”
“We expect about 17 million international tourists during the summer, many of them will be British because it is a very loyal market to Spain,” the minister noted.
The minister previously said that the second most popular destination in the world after France expects to attract 45 million international visitors this year, more than half, compared to 83.5 million visitors who entered Spain in 2019.
Between January and May, a total of 3.2 million international travelers visited Spain, including about 130,000 Britons, according to recent official figures.
The UK allowed international travel to resume in May after it remained temporarily frozen due to the COVID-19 situation. However, Spain does not belong to the UK’s green list, which includes countries considered safe, based on its epidemiological situation.
All travelers from the UK interested in visiting Spain are required to remain in self-isolation for ten days and take two COVID-19 tests upon return from Spain to Britain.
However, the decrease in the number of infections in the Spanish Balearic archipelago, which includes Mallorca and Ibiza, has led the authorities in Britain to exempt these areas from their list of areas highly affected by the virus; Therefore, travelers from these areas do not have to follow the rules of testing and quarantine when returning to the UK from Spain.
Southwest Europe welcomed a total of 18 million Britons in 2019, including 3.7 million who visited the Balearic Islands.
In May, the Spanish government announced that it had exempted Britons from testing requirements in a bid to boost the country’s tourism sector.
However, last month, the Spanish government reversed this policy and is now requiring a negative COVID-19 test result to prove vaccination for all travelers from the UK.
Amid growing concerns about the delta variant of the coronavirus, which has severely affected the UK, Spain, Portugal and Malta have tightened travel rules for all travelers from Britain who plan to visit these countries anytime soon.
The global tourism industry, among other sectors, has been hit by the coronavirus situation. According to the latest annual Economic Trends report by the World Travel and Tourism Organization (WTTC), the European travel and tourism industry suffered its biggest economic meltdown last year, after the Asia Pacific region.
According to figures published by the World Health Organization, Spain has recorded a total of 3,866,475 cases of coronavirus.
The same source shows that the virus has killed more than 80,900 people in Spain.