Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto announced on Friday that citizens will at least be able to travel normally within the country this summer. “Spaniards can plan their vacations,” she said in an interview with the Spanish television channel La Sexta. Maroto added that she expects more visitors to arrive this summer season than last year when coronavirus travel restrictions put one big blow to the tourism industry.

“Realistically and cautiously, we are talking about half a volume of 2019, which is supported by the forecasts of [Spanish Business Confederation] CEOE and [tourism lobby] Exceltur, ”said Maroto.

There are already families planning their trips, be it to their second home or to a preferred vacation destination

Minister of Tourism Reyes Maroto

In order for these forecasts to be fulfilled, Spain must Covid-19 vaccination drive must keep going at a good pace with no further setbacks. According to the latest figures, 22% of the population have received at least the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and vaccines Oxford-AstraZenecaand 8% received the two doses required for complete protection. The Spanish government aims to have 70% of the adult population vaccinated by the end of summer.

“We are facing a completely different summer [from last year]Here we have the vaccination campaign, which is the best tool to reactivate travel and business, ”said Maroto. “This will ensure that we can travel safely.”

According to Maroto, some Spaniards have started making hotel reservations. “There are already families who are planning their trips, be it to their second home or to a favorite holiday destination. We will take steps to build trust and travel safely, ”she said.

Maroto added that travel restrictions within Spain will be lifted from May 9, when the The alarm state is ended. “It’s good news because we’re starting to see the end of the tunnel,” she said.

For the past six months, the state of alert has allowed the regions responsible for the vaccination campaign and controlling the pandemic on their territory to introduce coronavirus restrictions on fundamental rights such as exercise. Once this emergency situation ends, however, regional governments will continue to have the Power to close the scope of their regions According to legal experts, provinces, municipalities and even neighborhoods are set to be locked under the Public Health Act 1986.

Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto in Alcorcón, Madrid. Alberto Ortega / Europa Press

With regard to the “Digital Green CertificateMaroto said the measure should be available by mid-June. The certificate is designed to facilitate movement. It is a digital and physical document with a QR code that allows the authorities of a country to verify three different pieces of information: when the wearer has been vaccinated, when he has had the coronavirus and when he has had a test that confirms that they are are not currently infected with the virus. “It is a tool to restore the international mobility that Spain needs to reactivate the sector,” said Maroto.

The Minister of Tourism also announced that trips for the elderly, organized by the Imserso Public Services Authority, will resume in October. “Almost all seniors are vaccinated, so they can think about a destination to travel to. It’s our way of repaying our seniors, ”she said.

Maroto added that overnight stays were down 54% in March from the same month’s numbers in 2020. This is much less than the nearly 90% declines seen in previous months. The decline is also due to the fact that from mid-March last year Spain was under a house lock and all tourist accommodations were closed.

English version of Melissa Kitson.