Spain Warns It Will Only Welcome UK Tourists In June Back If Britain Reciprocates
SPAIN has warned the UK government that it will only welcome British holidaymakers back to its tourist resorts if the UK offers the same deal to its tourists.
Spain is busy preparing to open its borders to British holidaymakers in June provided they have a digital vaccine certificate or a negative Covid test result. However, the tourism minister, Fernando Valdes Verelst, said that the UK must “accept the same terms for Spanish travelers who go to the UK.”
Spain is looking to create its own version of the EU’s proposed digital green certificate to show vaccination status or test results, with plans to trial the technology at 46 airports next month.
It is thought unlikely that Spain will be on the UK Government’s safe ‘green list’ for quarantine-free travel from May 17, when the ban on foreign travel is due to be lifted, but the moves show that opening up to holidays will require bilateral negotiations and the need for digital Covid status certificates.
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, on Wednesday confirmed that the NHS app will be English holidaymakers’ vaccine passport, with the first trips using it within a month.
Mr. Shapps said the app, which automatically links to an individual’s medical records will be used as a certificate for international travel to show they are vaccinated, have a negative Covid test, or immunity from having had the virus.
The government still has to develop ways of securely presenting the vaccine information at borders and incorporating test results or evidence of immunity for those who are not inoculated. That means it is unlikely to be ready by May 17, when holidaymakers will be allowed to fly to ‘green’ or ‘amber’ countries.
However, the international airline body IATA has been working with the government to launch a prototype of its digital travel pass, which could be used by holidaymakers to safely present their vaccination and test information for journeys, within a month.
Shapps said: “In terms of vaccine certification, I can confirm we are working on an NHS application – actually it will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you’ve had a vaccine or you’ve had testing.
“I’m working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that system can be internationally recognised, as that’s the way forward. Actually, I’m chairing a meeting of the G7 secretaries of state for transport, my equivalents from America and Canada and all the G7 countries, next week on exactly this subject.”
Portugal is expected to require digital confirmation of vaccination or negative tests. Asked whether Britons who have not been vaccinated could travel to Portugal, Mr. Antunes said: “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.”
Mr Shapps is not expected to reveal until the end of next week at the earliest which countries will be on the ‘green list’ from May 17, allowing quarantine-free travel and requiring only one PCR test on people’s return. He said it “looked good” for international travel to resume on that May date.
Ministers are expected to announce the paper-based certification of vaccinations to enable travelers to go abroad after May 17 until the app is ready for use.
The Department of Health said: “The government is working on providing individuals with the means to demonstrate their Covid status easily, through a digital route as well as a route for people who don’t have access to a smartphone. Security and privacy will be at the core of our approach.”
Published euroweekly 30 April 2021