Coronavirus: Spain to reopen to international tourists in July

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said 'Spain needs tourism' as lockdown eased

A demonstrator wearing a face mask waves a Spanish flag during a "caravan for Spain and its freedom" protest by far-right party Vox in Sevilla on May 23, 2020. Spain, one of the most affected countries in the world by the novel coronavirus with 28,628 fatalities, has extended until June 6 the state of emergency which significantly limits the freedom of movement to fight the epidemic. The left-wing government's management of the crisis has drawn a barrage of criticism from righ-wing parties who have denounced its "brutal confinement". / AFP / CRISTINA QUICLER
Powered by automated translation

Spain is to reopen to international tourists in July after imposing one of Europe's strictest lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez pledged to protect tourists, a crucial source of income for the country, from the disease which infected 234,824 and killed 28,628 in Spain.

The government has slowly begun to ease the quarantine but its two largest cities Madrid and Barcelona remain in lockdown.

"As you know, Spain receives more than 80 million visitors a year. I am announcing that from July, Spain will reopen for foreign tourism in conditions of safety. Foreign tourists can also start planning their holidays in our country," Mr Sanchez said.

"Spain needs tourism, and tourism needs safety in both origin and destination. We will guarantee that tourists will not run any risks, nor will they bring any risk to our country.

“We’re sending everyone a message today: Spain will be waiting for you from July," he added.

Strict measures introduced in March saw the closure of hotels, restaurants, beaches and leisure parks with the economy forecast to contract by 12 per cent this year. Around a million jobs were lost in March alone. A state of emergency has been extended until June 7.

On Saturday, the far-right Vox party organised protests against the government's lockdown measures.

"It is time to make a big noise against the government of unemployment and misery that has abandoned our self-employed and workers," Vox said.

Vox leader Santiago Abascal said the government was “directly responsible for the worst management of this crisis on the entire planet".


Gallery: Coronavirus around the world

View from London

Your weekly update from the UK and Europe

View from London