Melia CEO calls for travel corridor between UK and Spain

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The boss of Melia Hotels International is backing calls for the opening of a travel corridor between the United Kingdom and Spain in order to kickstart tourism between the two countries.

Gabriel Escarrer, the executive vice chairman and CEO of Melia Hotels International, said that the travel industry had suffered from “indiscriminate restrictions”, which had led to “unparalleled damage to our industry and our economies as a whole.”

Escarrer’s comments come after Spanish tourism minister Fernando Valdes said his country was ready to consider bilateral deals if a deal on vaccine certificates could not be reached at the European Union level.

“[M]aybe in summer we will be regaining British tourists in Spain,” Valdes told Bloomberg.

There has been some progress at EU level with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announcing plans for a “digital green pass”. For those European countries that have a significant tourism industry, the scheme can’t come soon enough.

“The United Kingdom is the most important feeder market for Spain, and for millions of British travellers, holidays to Spain are more than a just tradition, but part of their lives,” Escarrer said.

“What’s more, during this crisis we have fully realised that there is a contained demand among travellers, eager to travel as soon as restrictions are removed. Immediately after Boris Johnson’s announcement to lift borders closure in May, the bookings skyrocketed for mainland Spain and its islands.”