Spain welcomes British holidaymakers, defying EU plot to wreck summer


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    The country’s Foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya confirmed they would ignore Germany’s Angela Merkel and continue to let UK families in without forcing them to  quarantine on arrival. She said: “At the moment we are maintaining the measures which enable British citizens to enter our territory.” The move will be welcomed by millions of families for whom Spain is the top summer destination. Travel agents last night said they reported healthy bookings to the country this summer despite it being kept on the amber list.

    The Spanish minister’s comments came as the latest roster of approved green list countries released last night excluded mainland Spain and Portugal, angering vaccinated families and beleaguered travel agents.

    Holiday hotspots Malta, Madeira and the Balearics were added to the UK’s green list in a rare bit of good travel news.

    They were among 16 new additions, which also included the Caribbean islands of Barbados and Grenada. Changes will take effect from 4am next Wednesday.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it is the Government’s intention that “later in the summer” UK residents who are fully vaccinated will not have to isolate when arriving from amber list countries, adding that further details will be set out next month.

    But experts reacted with dismay as Germany and France stood accused of trying to slap a Europe-wide entry veto on British travellers.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron want the bloc to impose tough quarantine restrictions to curb the spread of the Delta variant.

    They are at the centre of efforts to enforce a mandatory 14-day quarantine on Brits, warning Europe was on “thin ice” in its fight against the pandemic.


    Britons can travel overseas to Spain this summer (Image: Getty)

    Yesterday, Mrs Merkel was open about her push to ban the British, saying: “I will advocate that we will act even more coordinated, especially when it comes to people travelling from virus variant areas.”

    Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa – now on the amber list – became the first EU leader to suggest he would abide by calls for tighter Covid restrictions.

    Belgium said it was banning British visitors from tomorrow.

    But mainland Spain struck a blow for holiday-hungry families.

    Tourism minister Maria Reyes Maroto saying: “We don’t have any restrictions on tourists from the UK at the moment. They’re the ones who are placing restrictions on people when they return.”

    Spain is the world’s second-most visited country after France and traditionally welcomes more than 80 million tourists a year – including 18 million from Britain. Tourism accounts for 12 percent of its national income.

    Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has already put the UK on his country’s non-EU exemption list, in recognition of the crucial role our tourists play.

    But widespread confusion over travel – and the requirements to do so – mean the country has been dealt a devastating economic blow for the second successive summer. Nacho Gozalbo, of the Palladium Hotel Group in Ibiza, said: “We are absolutely delighted the Balearic Islands have been added to the UK’s green list.


    The Balearic Islands were added to the UK’s green list (Image: Getty)

    “The UK is our main source market and the last year has been incredibly challenging. Many of our hotels have just opened for the summer season and we have implemented a range of stringent health and safety policies.

    “After the last year, we are all in need of a holiday.”

    Pedro Homar, of the Palma Tourist Board, said “The UK is one of our main tourism markets. The last year has been very challenging with many of our hoteliers and tourism businesses relying on UK visitors.

    “There’s no better time for British visitors to visit Palma and Mallorca. The sun is shining and we are reading and waiting with open arms.”

    Tui, Britain’s biggest holiday firm, said: “We’re not giving any trend information at the moment but we can confirm Greece and Spain remain the favourites for Brits this summer.”

    Mallorca has seen a surge in the number of tourists from Germany in recent days after it dropped quarantine requirements, with Spain saying tourists need not show proof of vaccination or negative Covid tests to get in.


    Mallorca has seen a surge in German tourists (Image: Getty)

    However, resorts on the island that have been perennially popular with British tourists.

    Magaluf and neighbouring Palmanova, still remain very quiet with around half of all hotels shut.

    Travel from green list countries means tourists must provide proof of a negative Covid test result taken up to three days before departure, book and pay for a day two PCR test and complete a UK passenger locator form 48-hours before leaving that country. For many, the logistics and cost mean they will stay away.

    The Greek islands, another hugely popular summer destination, remains out of reach for Brits. Tunisia, another country popular with British tourists, was placed on the red list.

    The limited choice prompted Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye to demand ministers hand the beleaguered travel industry and families confidence they would be able to get away this summer season, claiming 500,000 jobs depend on it.

    One travel expert told the Daily Express: “We needed a significant expansion of the green list to save the industry and give people some hope. This was not it.”


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