Spain closed to domestic tourism and opens to Europeans.Laurence Lemoine
The paradox of health measures: it is complicated to go from Valencia to Madrid or Barcelona, but very easy to go from Paris, London or Berlin to Sevilla, Valencia or Alicante.
The tourist sector is undoubtedly the one that has suffered the most from the pandemic, with a large number of restrictive measures still in force. The prospect of the Easter holidays is stirring people’s minds, but the Spanish regions are maintaining a firm and concerted position, and it will not be possible to leave one’s region to take a holiday in another comunidad. On the other hand, the intra-European borders remain open: it is therefore possible to leave or enter Spain with a negative PCR test and the famous QR code filled in.
There are several reasons for this contradiction, linked to the power struggle between the government and the 17 autonomous regions: in March 2020, the central power took control of the management of the pandemic, and later Pedro Sánchez’s executive delegated this responsibility to the regions. This allowed some of them to close their borders for a while, preventing travel between them, with some exceptions, such as the Canary Islands, which allowed visits from the peninsula with a negative coronavirus test. But the autonomous regions do not have the power to refuse entry to an European visitor.
For this, it is Spain (Madrid) that would have to notify the closure of its borders, an extreme that has not occurred except between March and June 2019 and since last December for non-essential travel from the UK and non-EU countries. The only requirement for travellers arriving by air or sea is the presentation of a negative PCR (and this is not even mandatory for road trips entering Spain.). In other words, if a French or German person arrives at Palma, Valencia or Malaga airport, there is nothing that can stop them. Only their home country can do that, and in general, EU countries have not really imposed any restrictions, although travellers are advised to seriously limit leisure travel.
Between the vaccination campaigns, the Easter holidays and the arrival of the good weather, tourism professionals are hoping to attract at least a few European tourists before a return to normalcy, which they hope to see as soon as possible.