Posted: Sunday June 06 2021 2:12 PM
Cruises return to Spanish ports on Monday. Spain is heading towards reopening and is positioning itself as the second country in the world to welcome cruise passengers almost a year after the ban on docking in Spanish ports on June 23, 2020.
In this period, the sector suffered the loss of 20,000 jobs, although the industry expects to recover the turnover before the pandemic: nearly 6,000 million euros in 2019 which contributes for 2 800 million euros to the national GDP. It is estimated that in the same year 50,031 jobs were created in Spain thanks to the cruise industry and that 1,500 million euros in wages were generated.
Between March and September 2020, with activity paralyzed, losses in Spain amount to more than 2,400 million economic activities, more than 20,000 jobs and 559 million euros in wages. However, the response of shipping companies to the lifting on Monday of the ban on international cruises in Spain, in force for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been immediate, and some have already included Spanish ports in your itineraries. across the Mediterranean this summer.
With the end of the ban comes a series of measures that cruise ships must comply with, such as not exceeding 70-75% of maximum capacity; avoid more than two crew members sleeping in the same cabin or forming groups, with different catering, embarkation and disembarkation times, in addition to the fact that passengers must present a PCR or antigen test negative before boarding.
According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), this is an “obviously demanding” protocol, but complies with European directives that many countries have followed to establish their regulations.
Its director for Spain, Alfredo Serrano, stressed that the sector has long requested the lifting of the ban in the sense that a date be given, so that shipping companies can update their plans.
In addition to getting the ship ready or bringing the crew in time to undergo a pre-departure quarantine, the most important thing is getting it to market, a process that typically takes up to two years in advance. In this case, it will be done in record time, although it is also true that some companies had announced that they were going to have boats in Spain, counting on the lifting of the ban, or that they were already sailing in across the Mediterranean or the Canary Islands.
Serrano, who is convinced that 2022 is already the year of recovery, still foresees many difficulties from an operational point of view so that companies can fully reactivate this year.
Among other issues, he mentioned restrictions on travel from non-EU third countries, where crew members come from, or still limited air connectivity to be able to move both tourists who want to take a cruise and the employees.
On the other hand, the fact that Spain continues outside the green light from the United Kingdom will have minimal impact, since the majority of Britons who come to Spain on a cruise, start it in their country, which also has a travel plan. de-escalation which envisages in a first phase, in which it is currently, only national routes.
Reopening to international tourism
This reopening is sowing hope, as will international tourism for people vaccinated against COVID, which will also take place on June 7.
The government has announced the opening of international borders to tourists who, without a justified reason, wish to access Spain from this Monday, provided they are vaccinated with the full schedule of one of the COVID vaccines approved by EMA or WHO.
In this way, international tourism is reopened not only for EU countries or the 10 third countries that have the right to enter Spain without justification, but also for nationals of any country provided they are immunized. against disease.
Spain is thus anticipating the “green certificate” that the European Union will launch from July and which will collect, among other data, the dates of vaccination and any diagnostic tests of nationals of Member States who intend to travel. through Europe.