MADRID (Reuters) – Spain is not discussing a travel corridor with Britain, a Spanish foreign ministry source told Reuters on Tuesday, but it will allow nearly 11,000 German tourists to visit the Balearic Islands two weeks before officially reopening its borders.
With summer fast approaching, a key question is whether and how tourists will be able to travel across Europe — particularly those from the United Kingdom, which on Monday imposed a 14-day quarantine on foreign visitors.
A UK tourism group said corridors allowing unrestricted movement with a number of countries would open from June 29, but the British embassy in Madrid said the government had not yet discussed such a proposal with other countries.
Portugal has said it is discussing an arrangement to exempt returning British holidaymakers from quarantine but Spain has no plans to do the same, the foreign ministry source said.
Severely affected by the pandemic, Spain now seems to have it under control. But it has taken a stricter approach than other countries and plans to start opening its borders to foreign visitors only on July 1.
“Spain has called for a common (European Union-wide) approach to opening the borders. If this is not done, it will establish its own criteria,” the foreign ministry source said.
It will nevertheless let up to 10,900 Germans fly to the Balearic archipelago between June 15 and June 29 as part of a pilot programme before fully restarting the industry, regional leader Francina Armengol told a press conference.
Visitors will have to provide health information and contact details and will face temperature checks upon arrival, but will not undergo quarantine or testing unless they show symptoms.
“We have chosen Germany because it is our main source of tourists and because their epidemiological levels are similar to ours”, Armengol said.
Germany has had fewer than 9,000 deaths from coronavirus while Britain’s death toll of 40,597 is the highest in Europe.
(Reporting by Belen Carreno, Emma Pinedo, Inti Landauro; Writing by Ingrid Melander and Nathan Allen; Editing by Clara-Laeila Laudette; and Catherine Evans)