Reyes Maroto, who was in Mallorca last Thursday.

Following on from her visit to Mallorca on Thursday when she met President Armengol and tourism industry leaders, Spain's tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, has clarified her expectation of the vaccination programme in Spain.

With increased supplies due from April, the anticipation is that thirty to forty per cent of the population will have been vaccinated by the end of June. This level of vaccination, allied to the launch of the vaccine passport (expected in June), "will give us the certainty to open safely and not have to go backwards, as happened last summer". "The difference this time is that we have the vaccine."

Maroto accepts that making predictions regarding the number of tourists this summer is difficult at present. However, the goal, she says, "is to recover half of what we recorded in 2019". This is a "desirable goal", but it will depend on the vaccination programme and the "digital certificate" (or vaccine passport). These, she adds, will be the security aspects that will make tourists wish "to choose us". And we will be "prepared".

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As was the case when she was in Mallorca on Thursday, she has said again that the government wishes to roll out the vaccine passport at state level. Proposals from regional governments will be studied, but it won't necessarily be the case that there is a pilot scheme in the Balearics.

Discussions with the likes of the Iberostar president, Miguel Fluxá, lead her to believe that this year's season can be extended beyond the summer months. "In the Balearics, all the conditions are in place to make this possible, as the islands have tourist products that are for sun and beach but which are also seasonally adjusted."

Considering the number of tourists, Maroto is of the view that "you don't have to be obsessed with quantity". Making the case for fewer tourists but ones who spend more, she adds: "In recent years it has been true that we have been absorbed by generating volume. But this has been uncomfortable for the citizens themselves. We have to continue to improve quality and to add new products. The pandemic will not be an excuse for not modernising the tourism model."

As for competition this summer, the minister stresses that safety is going to to be the key for choosing holiday destinations. Price will have a bearing. "There may be a price war, but it will not be the decisive factor when choosing a destination."