MADRID: Spain will let people from non-EU countries who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 enter the country from June 7, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Friday.
The new rule will apply to vaccinated travelers regardless of their country of origin, and most notably from the United States, Sanchez said in a speech at the FITUR international tourism trade fair in Madrid.
Speaking a day after the European Union reached a long-awaited deal for digital vaccine certificates, Sanchez said the return of tourism would be the key driver of Spain's economic recovery.
In parallel, from May 24, Spain will allow tourists from non-EU countries deemed a low coronavirus infection risk to enter without a negative PCR test.
Britain, Spain's largest market for foreign tourists, will be included on the list, as well as Australia, New Zealand and Israel among others.
"They're welcome - more than welcome - without restrictions nor health controls," he told reporters at the fair.
With hotel reservations already recuperating since a state of emergency expired earlier this month, Sanchez said the new travel regime would allow international tourist arrivals to reach up to 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year.
This summer he forecast arrivals could reach 30-40 percent of 2019's levels. The number of foreign tourists to Spain plummeted more than 80 percent in 2020 following the COVID-19 restrictions.