Fresh hope for Spanish tourism as Brussels confirms the arrival of vaccine passports in time for summer.
IN a major boost for Spanish tourism, Didier Reynders, the European commissioner for justice, told MEPs on Tuesday, April 13 that he expects vaccine passport trials to begin at the start of June with the aim of having the whole system up and running by the 21st. Spain had originally hoped to have passports in place by May 31 in a bid to welcome visitors sooner, but that target date has since been scrapped.
“It’s urgent. Of course, we want to be ready before the summer. For the end of June, we want to be ready with the regulation,” Mr Reynders told MEPs.
“The commission is working very hard to ensure large vaccination coverage of the European population to prevent discrimination of individuals who are not yet vaccinated,” he said.
“The proposal regulates not only the insurance verification and acceptance of an interoperable vaccination certificate but also a test certificate and certificate for a person who has recovered from Covid-19.”
Spain’s tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, said earlier in the month that the Spanish government’s forecast is that the digital vaccination certificate will be ready by June, while the UK has also begun its own controversial pilot scheme that could see the passports being required for entry into concerts and larger venues also.
Maroto said that the passport will look more like a mobility pass and will probably take the form of a QR code.
If both countries succeed in their planned rollout of the vaccine then summer 2021 could see thousands of British tourists returning to Spain and continental Europe. All the major airlines have already said bookings are through the roof and the Brits would be a welcome sight here in Spain.
Regarding the EU, Dutch MEP Tineke Strik told Euronews that once each country adopts their own vaccination passport scheme, they should be accepted throughout the entire European Union in the interest of fairness.
“Once member states start to use perhaps these certificates also in their own countries, like for instance, for access to restaurants or other services, then they also should not discriminate between EU nationals and their own citizens,” Strik said.