Spain could be ready to start rolling out coronavirus vaccine ‘passports’ by the end of May, paving the way to welcome back holidaymakers, Minister of tourism, María Reyes Maroto, said on Wednesday.
The minister told Antena 3 TV that ministers plan to have the digital scheme ready for the international tourism fair, FITUR, on May 19 in Madrid. However, Ms Maroto said the rollout of the passport will depend on how many people have been vaccinated in Spain and the level of infection rates.
She said the Spanish Government are working to be pioneers of the scheme and hope to have it ready ‘as soon as possible’, with plans to distribute the passports in April. So far, 4.8 million people have received their first dose in Spain and 1.4 million have received their second – with the Government hoping to have 30 to 40% of the population vaccinated by April.
The Covid passport, or ‘Digital Green Pass’, is one of several measures agreed by EU leaders in a bid to kick-start the hard-hit European travel industry following almost a year of restrictions. It is hoped the introduction of the passports in Spain will kick-start the hard-hit travel sector.
The scheme aims to open up travel within the EU first – for people who are vaccinated or display a negative test. Greece is also expected to give holidaymakers the green light for travel from May 14 – just three days before the earliest possible date Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Brits will be allowed to travel abroad.
Greek Tourism minister Harry Theocharis said the UK demand for holidays in Greece is ‘already picking up because there’s a lot more optimism with the way the vaccination program is progressing’.
Greece also announced earlier this week that it hopes to welcome back tourists from May. It comes after Cyprus revealed last week that it will welcome tourists who have had both their injections from the beginning of May.
The UK’s Global Travel Taskforce is carrying out a review into overseas travel and is due to present its recommendations to the prime minister on April 12.