Omicron has caused a temporary brake for travel. | Daniel Espinosa

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Julia Simpson, the president of the WTTC World Travel and Tourism Council, arrived in Madrid on Tuesday for the Fitur tourism fair and brought news of "encouraging" signs of tourism recovery.

According to Simpson, bookings for Spain have shot up by 320% for the first half of the year, above a more general 200% for the rest of Europe. For the summer, i.e. June on, reservations for Spain have risen by 80%. In her view, the brake on travel caused by the Omicron variant is only temporary, an opinion shared by airlines.

She accepted that Omicron has frustrated what had been expected to be a good start to 2022. It is difficult to quantify the impact of the variant, she noted, but as scientific evidence shows that it is a variant with a higher rate of infections but much lower mortality and hospitalisations, "we believe that the recovery will be very strong".

Everything depends, she added, on governments' decisions. However, travel restrictions are being shown to be unnecessary.