Spain pushed to follow Portugal and treat British holidaymakers as EU arrivals

Spanish officials are being urged to ignore passport control rules and let Britons pass through controls as they did in the first ‘proper’ summer after Brexit

Spanish tourism leaders are beginning to question the new system, it has been claimed

Pressure is being applied to let Brits visiting Spain pass through passport controls as if they were still part of the European Union in the first ‘proper’ summer after Brexit.

Holidaymakers from the UK are currently facing major delays at Spanish airports as they are no longer able to queue for UK arrivals.

Tourism leaders in Spain are beginning to question the new system, saying Spain should follow the example of Portugal, which is opting to ignore the rules and let the Brits pass through controls, as in years past.

It comes as thousands face travel chaos as passport delays put many travel on hold as Boris Johnson threatened to privatize the passport office.

The director of the Spanish Tourist Office in London, Manuel Butler, told Spanish newspaper Diaro del Sur that millions of Britons will visit the Costal del Sol this summer and that numbers are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Many Brits are facing airport delays after Brexit – but could change be just around the corner?


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“It will be the first summer season with Brexit and with normalized travel flows,” he said.

This means that passengers will have to go through new passport controls as they are not from the European Union.

Mr Butler said he appreciated the measure Portugal had just taken to ignore the European Union’s recommendations following the UK’s exit (Brexit) to ease entry for its citizens at its borders.

In this way, British tourists are treated as EU citizens in the neighboring country, avoiding physical checks and queues at airports.

Spanish officials are being urged to ignore passport control rules


Photo only via Getty Images)

Although not currently on the table in Spain, it would improve the competitive position of Portuguese destinations versus Spanish ones, he said.

Among those contenders, he also warned that we “must start considering Morocco for its advances in infrastructure.”

Moreover, he pointed out that after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Turkey will be one of the countries most affected by its high dependence on the Russian client.

“Some citizens of Russia will continue to travel, but it is possible that part of Turkey’s hotel industry will embark on a downward pricing strategy to fill these empty beds. Some Brits and Germans will be able to catch it,” he warned in advance.

Mr Butler said he was confident the Costa del Sol and Malaga will recover the UK market this summer but urged them to push facts and specific data on sustainability as one of the factors starting to catch on with Britons the holiday choice.

Costa del Sol Tourism Director General Antonio Díaz said: “The UK market is crucial for us as it is undoubtedly one of our most loyal customers.

Mr Butler said UK airlines and operators are constantly reviewing their offer for Spain and citing the example which last week announced a major increase in the Spanish destinations it flies to, including Malaga, where it is one of the top airlines in terms of UK passenger traffic.

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Fry Electronics Team

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