surinenglish

Costa del Sol calls for clarity amid talk of quarantine for British tourists

Tourists from EU countries can visit Spain from Sunday.
Tourists from EU countries can visit Spain from Sunday. / M. Fernández
  • Spain is due to open its frontiers with EU countries this weekend, ahead of the July date originally announced

The president of the Malaga provincial authority, Francisco Salado, called on Wednesday for "messages of reassurance and certainty" from the government with regard to the arrival of British tourists in Spain.

He referred to the suggestion made by Foreign Minster Arancha González Laya on the BBC's Hard Talk programme on Tuesday that quarantine could be imposed on British tourists if the UK government does not relax its own Covid-19 isolation rule on visitors from overseas.

"We will be looking at what the UK does and we will be in dialogue with the UK to decide whether or not we should introduce reciprocity, as they have different measures from the rest of the EU," said González Laya.

On 8 June, the British government imposed a 14-day quarantine on travellers arriving in the country from any international destination but Chancellor Rishi Sunak said on Sunday that the rule was being reviewed and that the authorities were looking at "all options", including opening air bridges with other countries.

González Laya described the current situation as "fluid" and insisted that both countries will remain in contact to make decisions in accordance with the "health situation", which, she said, is now "a little better in Spain than in the United Kingdom".

Salado, who is also president of the Costa del Sol tourism authority, accused the central government of not being aware of the importance of the tourism industry for Spain: "In these recent months, the government has shown that it doesn't know how to manage the tourism industry," he said.

He added that the minister had created "uncertainty" with her words and urged her to listen to the recommendations of the sector, made "based on experience".

"This is not the time for games of chess," he said, "but time to ensure that tourists come to Spain with necessary health guarantees". Frontiers should be opened both with the Shengen area as well as with the "great ally" that the UK has always been, he added.

When asked about the possibility of quarantine on Wednesday, the government delegate for Andalucía, Sandra García, said that "nothing is definite" and that the issue was "being studied".

The Spanish government had first planned to reopen its borders in July but announced on Saturday that tourists from the EU and the Schengen area could visit from 21 June.

This included visitors from the UK, the British Embassy in Madrid said the Spanish government had confirmed on Monday.

Borders with third countries outside the Schengen area could also open from 1 July if those countries meet certain criteria.