Hopes of rather more tourists than in late summer 2020. | M. Azagra

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Spain is continuing to seek to establish a Europe-wide vaccination card or passport as a means of opening up to foreign tourism this summer. The economic affairs ministry has identified such a document as being of fundamental importance in enabling a recovery of tourism.

The tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, is committed to the idea of a vaccination passport and to looking to convince the European Commission. In interviews with Spanish media in recent days, the secretary of state for tourism, Fernando Valdés, has highlighted the importance of vaccination as one aspect of facilitating safe travel.

He also points to the need for tests, safe corridors and health protocols that his department has helped to prepare. Of quarantine as a measure for travellers, he says that this is a decision for other countries. "We have never supported it." "By summer," he adds, "we would like to have a gradual recovery in international tourism", which would begin with "our European neighbours".

The secretary of state says that Spain's health ministry is "certain" that by the summer 70% of the Spanish population will have been vaccinated. "We are among the eight EU countries with the highest vaccination rate, ahead of France and Germany." He is cautious in noting that it cannot be known with certainty when foreign travellers will arrive, "but we already know that it is a matter of time".

Valdés refers to the anticipation of "a global immunisation scenario", one by which there will be reactivation this year, consolidation in 2022 and complete recovery in 2023, when Spain can again expect to receive the same number of foreign tourists as in 2019 - 83 million.