Saturday, Spain loosened COVID-19 entry requirements for tourists from outside the European Union who were not vaccinated, providing a boost to the country’s vital tourism industry ahead of the height of the summer vacation season.
Until now, only proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 was required for entry from outside the bloc, including Spain’s largest tourist market, the United Kingdom.
However, as of Saturday, non-EU visitors with negative COVID test results will also be permitted entry into Spain, according to a statement from the transport ministry.
Earlier, a Polymerase chain reaction test or an antigen test must be conducted 72 hours or 24 hours before departure to Spain, respectively.
The Tourism Minister, Maria Maroto, stated that the “new phase of the pandemic” allowed the country to relax the regulations by equating non-EU travellers with those from the bloc.
“This is excellent news, eagerly anticipated by the tourism industry, and will make it easier for non-European tourists to visit us during the peak season,” she added in the statement.
Children under 12 years old were exempt from submitting any type of certification.
Spain was the second most visited country in the world prior to the pandemic, attracting 83.5 million foreign visitors in 2019.
However, international travel restrictions resulting from the pandemic brought Spain’s tourism industry to its knees in 2020, with only 19 million tourists visiting the country.
The number increased to 31,1 million in 2021, far below the government’s forecast of 45 million arrivals.