Spain attracted around 18.13 million UK tourists pre-pandemic in 2019. Yet, since then ongoing and ever-changing travel restrictions have seen these figures plummet, with just 3.2 million making it to the Mediterranean shores in 2020.
Though ministers are anticipated to make their next traffic light system update in a matter of days, on or around June 24, whether or not Spain will make the cut remains unknown.
Despite the current quarantine rules for Spain, Gary Lewis, CEO of The Travel Network Group said there is already “evidence” of passengers pushing ahead with plans to visit the country.
“We have evidence of this and clearly this is the holidaymakers’ choice,” he told Express.co.uk.
“It is not illegal to visit an amber country, but visitors should check the rules for returning to the UK.”
Not only is this vital in boosting consumer confidence, and making holidays more accessible to those who can not quarantine, it is also vital for the travel industry.
“As a number one summer destination for UK visitors, it is critical that many travel businesses are able to sell holidays to Spain, at least for part of this year’s summer,” he said.
“After almost 15 months of crisis, many travel businesses are relying on summer 2021 happening.”
Ahead of the last traffic light update, there was hope the Balearic and Canary Islands would make it onto the list via an “islands approach”.
Speaking at an online event, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps suggested the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce would look at individual archipelagos when categorising.
The transport secretary told an online ConservativeHome event he was in favour of an “islands approach”.
He said: “I want to do that again. I don’t want to go backwards, I want to go forwards”.
Travel experts including Simon Calder pointed to the archipelagos’ low COVID-19 cumulative rates as a reason for them being granted island stays.
Despite this, neither Spain nor the Balearics and Canaries made it onto the green list at the last review.
Mr Lewis remains hopeful, though, that the Government will continue to look at island nations separately.
“An island approach is a sensible and logical way forward to safely open up the tourism industry,” he said.
“We have to have clear criteria on how to get back to normal and an island approach should be an immediate starting point to that.”
Even if Spain is granted green list status at the next review, there are mounting concerns over sudden changes to travel rules.
At the beginning of June, holidaymakers in Portugal found themselves facing a race against the clock to get home before the country turned amber.
“The problem isn’t the clarity of the traffic light system, but the Government’s confusing messaging and expectations set on how countries will move between red, amber and green,” said Mr Lewis.
“The Government promised the green watch list which should set out science-led criteria to help both the travel industry and customers understand how countries will move to green.”