Spain is talking the talk and nearly one million Britons who own second homes in Spain are eagerly waiting to see if France follows through with plans to lift the cap after the senate voted to amend the country’s immigration law earlier this month.
The vote was a move towards giving British second home owners the automatic right to a long-stay visa, rather than being limited by the 90-day rule. French members said they had voted the amendment through for those who had been “punished by Brexit”.
And considering only 60,000 Britons own second homes in France, Spain has a much bigger case to argue. At the World Travel Market in London last month Secretary of State for Tourism, Rosana Morillo, said she was pleased that “the available data suggests that the United Kingdom will continue to be our main issuing country next year.”
In addition, the Secretary of State held an important meeting at the Foreign Office with the Director of Consular Affairs and Crisis, Jennifer Anderson, in which they discussed issues of interest regarding the stays of British tourists in Spain and discussed collaboration projects for future seasons.
She highlighted the fact that the United Kingdom is a leading mature market for Spain, which “will close 2023 at levels very close to pre-pandemic levels in terms of the number of international arrivals in 2019, and will greatly exceed tourist spending in relation to that year”.
In a statement the Spanish government said: “the United Kingdom is our main market in terms of the number of tourists and spending at the destination, a market that continues to grow and that has left behind the uncertainties of Brexit and the pandemic. Moreover, our prospects tell us that there is still a great deal of room for improvement”.
However, Spain appears to be very loyal to the EU, but if France can go it alone why can’t Spain? Spain’s Minister of Tourism, Hector Gomez, has hinted that those in his government also wanted to work with the EU towards some sort of “exception”.
He has previously made clear his anger over Spain’s position when it comes to the 90-day rule. But he has said: “Unfortunately, the rule is not something Spain has established by itself or can get rid of. It is in our interest to lobby and convince the EU that we can try to work an exception with them. But the solution must come from them.”
Nevertheless, Spain appears to have the desire for change and if the million home owners could begin to lobby the Spanish government, a start would be sending an email to the Bulletin which will gather the comments and send them to the relevant Balearic and Spanish authorities. Email email@example.com