Coronavirus: Tourists can visit Spain from 1 July with no quarantine
Tourists will be able to visit Spain from the beginning of July without having to quarantine for two weeks, after the government eased coronavirus lockdown rules.
The world's second-most visited nation currently demands all foreign visitors isolate themselves for 14 days on arrival, but has decided to lift the controls in an attempt to revive its tourist industry for the holiday season.
Prime minister Pedro Sanchez has said he wants Spain to establish reciprocal "safe corridors" with other countries in Europe, so long as "they don't bring risks to our country".
Spain's foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said European Union members should agree to a common approach to open borders, adding that she would like to see a European definition of which countries should be deemed as safe.
It remains unclear whether British holiday-makers will be able to visit Spain this summer. The government is bringing a 14-day quarantine for arrivals to the UK from 8 June - yet transport secretary Grant Shapps has said "air bridge" arrangements could be established to allow trips to low-risk countries.
Following Spain's announcement it would lift quarantine from 1 July, Ryanair has confirmed its plan to ramp up flights to 40 per cent of its normal schedule from the same date.
The airline said in a statement: "Ryanair will be offering daily flights from countries all over northern Europe including Ireland, the UK, Belgium, Holland and Germany to the key holiday airports of Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus from 1 July."
Spain normally attracts 80 million visitors a year, with tourism accounting for more than 12 per cent of the country's gross domestic product, so the summer season is crucial to possibilities of heading off a looming recession.
Spain has recorded more than 28,000 coronavirus deaths, but has seen daily fatalities drop to fewer than 100 for the last week.
"The worst is behind us," Spain's foreign minister tweeted. "In July we will gradually open Spain to international tourists, lift the quarantine, ensure the highest standards of health safety. We look forward to welcoming you!"
Tourism minister Reyes Maroto added: "It is perfectly coherent to plan summer vacations to come to Spain in July."
Although bars and restaurants were allowed to open their outside spaces at half capacity from Monday, many in Madrid and Barcelona stayed closed as owners weighed the value of catering to just a few people.
Some of those who did open were pessimistic. "It's complicated, we are not going to be able to save the tourist season, unless (enough) foreigners come," said Alfonso Gomez, a restaurant owner in Barcelona.
Government ministers are expected to discuss on Tuesday how to move forward with the gradual phasing out of the lockdown, amid growing tensions between regions and the central government.
The current system might be loosened to allow a more tailored approach for each area. Spain's cabinet was also due to announce 10 days of mourning to honour those dead from the pandemic.
Additional reporting by agencies