COVID-19: Spain hopes to see summer boost in tourism as German tourists flock to Balearic Islands
Spain is among a number of countries pushing hard for international vaccine certificates to be ready for the summer season.3
Spain is hopeful the number of foreign tourists returning to the mainland and its islands can rebound this year to half pre-pandemic levels.
Tens of thousands of German tourists reportedly arrived in the Balearic Islands at the weekend, in a welcome boost for local businesses.
However, this has not gone down well around the country as Spaniards are still facing a travel ban due to coronavirus restrictions.
It also comes at a time when mainland Europe is struggling to contain a third wave of the virus, as well as problems with its vaccine roll out.
Spain's tourism minister Reyes Maroto said: "Maybe the ideal goal is... to get half of the tourists we had in 2019.
"This, for the industry, would be an achievement."
In 2019, Spain had the world's second highest number of foreign visitors at more than 80 million.
This plummeted by more than 80% to 19 million tourists in 2020, the lowest level since 1969, as a result of the travel restrictions imposed to curb the pandemic.
While tourism accounted for around 12% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019 and one job in eight, activity plunged in 2020.
The industry accounted for between 4% and 5% of Spain's national output, according to estimates.
Spain is among a number of countries pushing hard for international vaccine certificates to be ready for the summer season.
Tui has said that it will not take customers on holiday if it cannot guarantee their safety, or if the Spanish government reimposes a 14-day quarantine for UK arrivals.
A spokesperson said: "As per our TUI Holiday Promise, we won’t take customers on holiday if we know they’re required to quarantine on arrival or on their return home. We’re closely monitoring Government advice and should this change, we’ll adapt our holiday programme and proactively contact all impacted customers to discuss their options."
The announcement follows a sharp increase in new infections along the Costa del Sol, with Marbella reporting its first case in 11 days while 23 people have contracted the virus in Malaga in the last 48 hours. The city of Almeria has also seen a spike in infections, only weeks after Spain reopened its borders with the UK.
Health officials in Lanzarote are also on high alert after a British holidaymaker tested positive while staying at a hotel on the island, while fears of a second lockdown in Barcelona arose after residents were asked to leave their homes only for essential trips.
The Spanish government has insisted that the infection rate is under control amid fears that other European countries could close borders if the number of cases continues to rise.
The UK is set to review its list of travel corridors on Monday, while France has refused to rule out the possibility of halting travel to and from Spain in order to prevent a second outbreak.
Country house hotel Chewton Glen was the first hotel in the UK to get a spa more than 30 years ago, and this Saturday it will reopen after a full refurbishment. Think Grecian-inspired columns, a serene indoor pool and hydrotherapy baths. Like many other UK hotel spas, Chewton Glen has had to adapt its protocols in light of coronavirus.
For this reason, they have dramatically reduced their menus in favour of bespoke experiences, where guests can design their own facial (or massage) and the therapist will implement it (45 minutes;£90). Sister hotels The Lygon Arms and Cliveden House will take the same approach.
British Airways has issued an apology for demanding that passengers travelling to Iceland obtain a private Covid-19 test before departure to the country, reports Emma Cooke.
These tests were entirely pointless as Icelandic authorities are currently not accepting any test results from third parties, and testing all arrivals themselves.
The UK-based test required before boarding cost around £150 – visitors then found themselves having to pay a further £63 for another test on arrival on the island, or £52 if they had booked the Icelandic test in advance.
Buyers are circling the UK's stricken hospitality sector, waiting to snap up hotels left struggling by the impact of the pandemic.
Property consultants Christie & Co have reported an 84 per cent increase in buyer enquiries since April 27, when some lockdown measures were lifted.
While many hotels have reported strong bookings since they were given the green light to reopen on July 4, the long-term effects of the coronavirus on travel trends could see many owners unable to recuperate their losses, leaving them open to offers from wealthy buyers and investors.
Carine Bonnejean, managing director of hotels at Christie & Co, said: "International travel and business demand, most particularly MICE, will take time to recover and we do not anticipate the market to return to pre-Covid-19 levels until 2022, at the earliest. Unfortunately, over-rented or over-leveraged hotels may not be able to wait that long and we have already seen a few casualties."
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