Spain will allow British tourists to enter the country from today without having to undergo quarantine.
Britons account for more than a fifth of the roughly 80 million tourists Spain receives each year and it is hoped that their return will help the tourism industry recover.
Spain had one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, with residents kept inside apart from trips for food, medicines and essential jobs.
Britain, which has reported more than 42,500 deaths from coronavirus, and Spain, with more than 28,300, are among the countries hardest hit by COVID-19.
Spain’s foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told BBC News: “We will allow British visitors to enter Spain just like the rest of the European Union or Schengen area from 21 June freely and without the need for the quarantine.”
Travellers from Britain and the European Union will still have to have their temperature taken, their origin checked and the contact details recorded in case they need to be traced.
She added that Spain was opening its borders “out of respect for the 400,000 British citizens who have second residences” in the country and who are “dying to benefit” from them.
However, the UK’s quarantine measures will mean that those returning from Spain – or elsewhere – is required to spend two weeks in isolation.
This and the fact that the Foreign Office is still advising against all non-essential travel could put off potential travellers.
Britain’s quarantine is due to be reviewed on 29 June, after three weeks in force.
Meanwhile, flights are due to leave Stansted Airport for Barcelona and Malaga today, the first flights from the UK to Spain since lockdown began in March.
A British government spokesman said its position on quarantines for people entering the UK remained unchanged.
“International travel corridors remain an option under consideration by the UK government, not established policy,” the spokesman said.
“Conversations take place regularly with governments around the world on a whole range of issues and we will not be providing any further details at this stage.”