The Spanish government have announced that their much-discussed “vaccine passport” initiative will be ready by June, meaning those vaccinated will be able to travel to Ibiza. The news comes after months of speculation around the introduction of such a system, with the Spanish tourism industry keen to open up a “green corridor” with the UK, hopefully allowing some kind of Ibiza season to go ahead this year.
The concept of vaccine passports is of course nothing new – various countries have operated such systems for a variety of preventable diseases for decades, and it was clear as soon as the prospect of vaccination against Covid-19 was a reality, that it could provide countries that rely heavily on tourism a chance to safely welcome holiday-makers back to their shores. Both Spain and Greece initially expressed an interest in such a system, and the EU took note, announcing they were planning to roll-out a system across the entire bloc at some point this year. However, while these plans are still in place, the Spanish government have stated they will be ready to go with the Ibiza vaccine passport this summer regardless of whether or not the EU are on board. Spanish tourism minister Reyes Maroto has said the vaccine passport system “will replace current restrictions when it comes to travelling”.
It comes as the UK is about to hit a significant milestone – this week it is expected everyone over 50 and anyone who is clinically vulnerable will have received their first dose, with many of the first cohort already receiving a second. This group makes up 99% of the mortality risk for Covid, and perhaps more crucially when it comes to tourism, means the UK can now move on to vaccinating the some 20 million non-vulnerable under 50s, with some having already received a dose. While second doses and a “lumpy” supply could see rates slow in April, it is still widely expected that even with a slow-down in weekly averages, all adults will have received at least one dose by the end of June, possibly sooner if supply increases and expected additional vaccines from the likes of Moderna and Novavax arrive in significant quantities. The UK is also looking highly likely to return to full normality by June 21 in accordance with the government’s “roadmap” to easing lockdown, so summer 2021 might just include Ibiza yet.
In Ibiza, the Balearic government have announced bars and restaurants can open outdoor terraces from March, and while there’s little news on clubs reopening yet, Hï Ibiza tentatively announced their schedule of residents for 2021, but this was all the way back in August 2020. It is also worth noting that tourism minister Marato also said they will need to see “a significant percentage of the population vaccinated” before tourism can resume in earnest, and Spain – much in line with most of the EU – is significantly behind the UK with just 16% of the population vaccinated to date, and ongoing rows regarding supply raging across the continent.
Image credit: via Ibiza Spotlight