By Laura Kemp •
Published: 24 Apr 2020 • 13:39
Hugh Elliott, the Ambassador for the United Kingdom in Madrid, has reassured Spain and its people that “the British tourist will return to Spain” to spend their holidays after a rather short period of “caution” and fear which the Covid-19 pandemic has generated.
“ONE thing that will not change is that people will continue having holidays, and the preferred place for British tourists is Spain,” explained the diplomat in a video interview.
Typically, Spain receives “18 or 19 million” British tourists and Elliott hopes that these numbers return to these heights as soon as possible, “although this won’t happen in the upcoming months.”
However, the ambassador appears convinced that, sooner rather than later, this “profound and broad” relationship between the two countries will be restored. He reinforces the fact that the two countries have such a strong bilateral relationship, not only in aspects of tourism but in investment and trade.
He recalls that the United Kingdom was the largest investor in Spain for the first half of 2019, and vice versa as Spain is also an important investor in the UK, not to mention the extensive cultural and educational exchanges they both enjoy.
On a sourer note, he has admitted that nobody knows “how long this crisis will last or what conditions” we will find ourselves in after this phase of the pandemic is all over.
He argues that the distrust of travellers or tourists in this medical crisis is not directed specifically towards Spain for being one of the worst affected countries by the pandemic. Instead, there are many countries being affected by this and we must all understand that this is “an unprecedented situation, so of course there will be fear, it is very normal, it is a very human concern.”
He applauds Spain for being “a great country” who has “fantastic health services” and whose “professionals are doing an incredible job” and providing an “incredible” reputation to the profession. Elliott explains that he does not have “the slightest doubt that with a little bit of time… because of the fear of travelling and moving around” that the situation will stabilise and go back to normal.
Of course, he thinks there will be a period of caution, but he contends that this will be rather short. The diplomat has highlighted that he remains in constant and permanent contact with the community of British expats in Spain, which is estimated to make up anywhere from 350,000 to half a million residents.
On behalf of the British living in Spain, the Ambassador has thanked the health services for doing an incredible job and he has also mourned the tragic deaths of British expats who have contracted the virus whilst in Spain.
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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