The head of the Spanish Tourist Office in the UK has insisted the country is “safe” in the face of government advice against all but essential travel.

The UK director of the tourism organisation spoke out as major operators Tui and Jet2 extended the suspension of summer flights and holidays to the Balearic and Canary islands and the Spanish mainland.

Javier Pinanes described the outbreaks of Civid-19 as being “highly localised and our regions are taking swift, decisive and forceful control measures”.

And he revealed: “Work is being carried out between the Spanish and British authorities so that decisions are made or adjusted based exclusively on epidemiological criteria.”

The outbreaks in Spain are mainly concentrated in two autonomous communities – Aragon and Catalonia – that accumulate approximately 60% of the total cases.

He said: “In the last seven days, ten people have sadly died across the whole of Spain due to coronavirus, however most holiday destinations have not reported any recent deaths and have low incident rates.

“Likewise, the increase in cases in Spain is not resulting in a significant rise in hospitalisations. In the last week, there have been 25 ICU admissions across the whole country.”

Pinanes added: “Looking specifically at the infection rate over the last seven days, many of Spain’s regions report figures well below accumulated rates in other European countries where travel bans have not been imposed.

“For example, the rate of accumulated cases in the Canary Islands is just 2.4 per 100,000 people and in the Balearic Islands it is 11.3.

“There are many popular destinations in Spain visited by British tourists, such as Andalucía, which includes Costa del Sol, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, the region of Valencia and many of Spain’s northern regions such as Asturias, Galicia and Cantabria, which have infection rates similar or below those reported in the United Kingdom.

“Our tourism industry is well prepared to receive visitors and a number of measures have been implemented so that tourism can continue in the most safe, secure and hygienic manner. The sector has made a huge effort to adapt over recent weeks and has managed to implement effective measures to guarantee safety.”

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