A senior Spanish government official says he is expecting the British and others Vacationers return to Spain within a few weeks as the country races to revitalize its tourism industry amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deputy Tourism Minister Fernando Valdés told The Associated Press on Wednesday that falling coronavirus incidence rates and accelerated adoption of vaccines in some countries will allow Spain to lift travel restrictions early next month.

Some people “from countries outside the European Union can come without restrictions from the UK, which is in a good epidemiological situation,” Valdés said in an interview.

“And we will start accepting citizens who can provide a vaccine certificate,” he said.

In 2019, the UK sent 18 million people to Spain, most of them from any country. Spain is one of the best tourist destinations in the world.

Negotiations between EU governments and EU lawmakers over the introduction of Covid-19 certificates to make traveling around the bloc easier this summer are ongoing.

An agreement is needed by the end of this month to ensure the system will be operational by the end of June, EU officials hope.

According to Valdés, Spain intends to move fast as the government seeks to revitalize a sector that accounted for 12% of annual gross domestic product in pre-pandemic times but fell to just under 6% last year due to lockouts and travel bans.

“Spain will have the digital certificate ready in June. We hope that the (EU) regulation will be passed on June 21st, ”he said.

“But from the first week of June, Spain will be able to validate certificates at its borders and accelerate certificates for its citizens.”

Spain is focusing its new advertising campaigns on its key markets: UK, France, Germany and other EU countries which accounted for 75% of the visitors in 2019.

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