The Spanish government, however, has insisted that the situation in the country is under control despite a recent rise in Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases. Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya insisted on Sunday that Spain is a safe country for tourism, she said that the government is working with European governments to explain the measures that are being carried out and to convey a message of confidence. “As in other European countries, there are outbreaks,” said the foreign minister. “A great effort is being made to detect and measure social isolation and we are in dialogue with all other countries, especially the UK”.
Shock and anger were widespread at the UK’s decision and with almost no prior notice travellers were told that the quarantine period of 14 days would come into force from midnight on Saturday 25 July for all travellers returning from Spain including from the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
The reaction from business owners who rely entirely on tourism and with British tourists making up around 83 million visitors a year, its tourism sector accounts for 12.3% of the country’s GDP – and it also generates more than 2.6 million jobs in the country.
Despite the Spanish foreign minister’s comments, Belgium also recommended that its citizens should not travel to six of Spain’s regions and also specifically banned travel to the provinces of Huesca and Lleida.
France is also urging its citizens to avoid travelling to Catalonia a top destination for French tourists. Norway has also introduced a 10-day quarantine for all travellers from Spain. Meanwhile, Germany’s Foreign Ministry is advising against travel to Catalonia, Aragón, Navarre and the Balearic Islands.
Following the UK government’s advice on Saturday evening, the UK’s largest tour operator, TUI, initially cancelled all flights from the UK to mainland Spain until 9 August. The company later confirmed that flights to the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands would resume on Monday.