The regional government is looking to reactivate international tourism as early as possible in 2021, with a special focus on British holidaymakers. As Spain foreshadowed new travel regulations requiring inbound travellers from “at-risk” countries to provide evidence of a negative PCR test, Murcia’s tourism authorities were online at this week’s digital World Travel Market explaining why tourists should make plans to return to Murcia (which covers the popular Costa Cálida resorts) next year.
Minister for tourism, youth and sport Cristina Sánchez was accompanied by nine regional enterprises during the London fair – the first in history held virtually – and the delegation held more than 90 online professional meetings with tour operators, the media and industry portals.
Their message was simple: within an international context and while waiting for restrictions to be lifted and airlines’ operations to be reactivated, “it is vitally important to keep people’s minds focused on the region’s image as a trustworthy, sustainable destination, with diverse tourist options which can be enjoyed throughout the year and are of a high quality… We offer connectivity and sustainable tourism… in addition to heritage, cultural and gastronomic attractions… both coastal and inland.”
Within this framework, she said, it was particularly important to participate in the WTM, with its headquarters based in the British market. According to National Statistics Institute figures, compiled from a survey of border tourist movements (Frontur), in 2019 British tourists represented a market share of 42.9 per cent of foreign travellers – a total of 447,464 tourists.
The nine participating enterprises were La Manga Club, Murcia Convention Bureau, Cartagena Puerto de Culturas, Hacienda del Álamo Golf & Spa Resort-Hacienda del Álamo Residences, Costa Cálida Travel DMC, Turismo WALA, Thalasia Costa de Murcia, Hotel Puerto Juan Montiel Spa & Base Náutica and Lorca’s municipal tourism department.
PCR Tests for Passengers
This week, Spain’s national government announced that it would require inbound travellers from “at-risk” countries to provide evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arriving in Spain, if they wanted to be allowed to enter the country.
The measure, which comes into force on 23 November, is in addition to health controls already carried out for all inbound passengers at their points of entry. This means that temperature controls and visual checks will be maintained.
The Health Control Form, which all passengers are required to complete before entering Spain, will now include a question regarding whether they can produce this negative PCR test. Proof of the test result may be requested from passengers at any time. The document must be original, drafted in Spanish or English, and can be submitted on paper or in an electronic format.
Passengers whose temperature, visual or documentary checks indicate that they could be suffering from COVID-19 will be required to have a diagnostic test taken at the airport on their arrival in Spain.
The criteria for designating at-risk zones or countries where a PCR test will be required, in the case of EU and Schengen-associated countries, is referenced from the official European Council Recommendation of 13 October.
For other countries, the basic reference is the cumulative rate of cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous 14 days, as outlined in the International Health Regulation based on information provided by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).