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Published on Friday, January 22, 2021

Spain rows back over concern for summer season

Spain's tourism minister has said the country hopes to welcome tourists in late spring 'or during the summer' as she downplayed earlier suggestions from Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez that it may lose most of the lucrative summer trade while a vaccine is rolled out.

Reyes Maroto, minister of industry, trade and tourism, said 'reactivating' tourism remained a priority.

The comments came after Sanchez told a meeting of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) that international tourism was unlikely to fully return until 'the end of summer' when 70% of the Spanish population had been vaccinated.

It triggered calls and emails to travel agents from nervous customers.

Maroto attempted to ease the concerns.

"Our priority in 2021 is to reactivate tourism and resume safe mobility on a global scale as soon as possible," she said.

"We are working to adopt a common framework of a series of planned actions to give confidence to tourists.

"We hope that at the end of spring and especially during the summer, international travel will resume and travellers will choose Spain as their destination."

Earlier, Sanchez said:  "The Government is working hard to vaccinate people at the highest possible rate, and in fact Spain is the ninth ranked country in the world in vaccinations so far, and one of the top in Europe."

Reaching 70% of the population 'by the end of the summer' will allow Spain 'to be progressively better prepared to receive international tourists', he said. 

"Only mass vaccinations will open the way to the normality that we want," he added.

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