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World tourism expert calls on UK to lift the restrictions on travel to Spain

Zurab Pololikashvili.
Zurab Pololikashvili. / FÉLIX PALACIOS

Malaga will be the first city to have full coverage on the new WTID app, which makes it easier and safer for people to identify themselves on holiday.

Pololikashvili said he had written to the British government, urging them to change their minds and lift the restriction on travel to Spain, adding that it is "harmful to Spanish tourism". He called for a standard protocol in the EU, and said he hopes the UK will do all it can to enable British people to travel and give Spanish tourism a chance. "The self-isolation is not going to facilitate these matters," he said.

The WTO boss sent a message of hope to the sector, but also warned that Spanish tourism firms need support with cashflow and fiscal flexibility in order to recover. He recommended that the Spanish government use its EU funding to give more help to tourism, which represents 11 per cent of GDP and has a major effect on other productive sectors.

Praising the government's work on safety guidelines, which he said had been "an example to other countries", Pololikashvili insisted that "the time has come to travel and people have to start doing so. Safety measures are in place and I see no risk of a second wave like the one in March".

He also stressed that all companies are applying strict measures to prevent infection. "Spain is safe," he said. He believes the country and Europe will be the first to recover visitor numbers, but it will be a matter of time and effort.