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Delta Variant Spreading In Spain Causes Major Travel Cancellations
The recovery of Spain’s tourism sector, was on its way back to normal— at least almost. After one year of waiting, the European country started to dream about the return of foreign tourists to its cities, beaches and other world-known attraction places. However, with the Delta variant spreading in Spain and the recommendations to avoid traveling there from France, Germany, and the United Kingdom— the country’s tourism is in jeopardy once again.
The three countries (UK, Germany and France) listed Spain as a risk area in early July, after the delta strain of the coronavirus became dominant in the country. Last week, there were said to be 179 cases per 100,000, one of the highest rates in Europe, according to official data.
Despite the Delta variant spreading in Spain, the country is not experiencing the same deadly numbers seen one year ago, when Covid-19 hit the European country badly.
According to Spain’s government officials, over 42% of the population has been fully immunized. Also, despite rising transmission among unvaccinated youths, hospitalization and death rates remain low.
However, this situation has not been enough to avoid booking cancellations, according to the industry group Exceltur.
In 2020, Spain received 18.9 million foreign tourists. This number represents 77.3% less than the 83.5 million in 2019. Last year was the worst in the history of the sector, in a country where the tourism industry contributes over 12% to the national economy. Thus, the current booking cancellations are creating despair among travel agencies and their workforce.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, made remarks on the current situation of Spain on the television network, France 2. He advised French people to avoid Spain and Portugal as destinations this season.
German and British media outlets have been covering the new spike in Spain extensively, with particular attention to an outbreak on the popular island of Mallorca among students on end-of-term vacations in late June and July.
“This is not the time to ask our citizens to cancel their vacations in Spain, especially if they are vaccinated,” said Spain’s foreign minister, Arancha González Laya, asking traveling Europeans for “prudence, vaccination and certificates,” in that order.