In an extraordinary reversal of an earlier announcement, the Spanish tourist board in London has withdrawn the promise of opening to unvaccinated British visitors.
On Wednesday afternoon, the tourist board said Spain had opened to all British travelers with immediate effect, saying undisturbed visitors could enter with a negative pre-departure test.
But he now says the announcement was the result of a misinterpretation of the official state bulletin.
UK travelers aged 12 and over must still present proof of full vaccination or a certificate of recovery (dated less than 180 days previously).
Pedro Medina, Deputy Director of the Spanish Tourist Board in the UK, said: “We unreservedly apologize for the miscommunication earlier today which was due to a misunderstanding of the new entry requirements.”
The only exception is for people between the ages of 12 and 17 (inclusive) who can present a negative Covid test (PCR or similar) carried out within 72 hours of their arrival in Spain.
For vaccinated travellers, the Spanish tourist board said “If more than 270 days have passed since the last dose, a booster vaccination certificate is also required, except for adolescents aged 12 to 17 inclusive”.
A smaller change has been confirmed: children under 12 and those traveling to Spain with an NHS Covid travel pass) no longer need to complete the Spanish health check form before arrival.
Spain is the favorite destination for British travellers. In 2019, the country welcomed 18.1 million visitors from the UK, an average of 50,000 arrivals per day
The number of travelers has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic. At the start of 2022, Spain imposed strict requirements – insisting that all arrivals aged 12 or over were fully vaccinated.
For thousands of British families, this has made the February holidays impossible.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of Advantage Travel Partnership, described the Spanish U-turn as a “spectacular mistake”.
It is unclear what attitude airlines and holiday companies will take towards unvaccinated people who have booked trips to Spain in light of the erroneous announcement.
The Independent asked British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair and Tui if they would allow customers to cancel or change their bookings.
Last week France – the second most popular country for British holidaymakers – opened up to unvaccinated British visitors.