Spain’s tourism minister has insisted British tourists will be welcome once restrictions on overseas visitors have been lifted, pending changes to the UK government’s quarantine plans and Foreign Office advice against all-but-essential travel.

Earlier this week, Maria Reyes Maroto said the UK’s coronavirus infection rate “still had to improve” before British holidaymakers would be allowed to return.

But The Guardian reported on Thursday that Maroto had insisted Spain wished to see British travellers return “as soon as they can”.

The country is set to open its borders to international tourists and drop its current 14-day quarantine rule from July 1.

The report quoted Maroto as saying: “We’re in touch with British authorities and tour operators regarding two elements that need to be resolved.

“One is the possible quarantine that the British government has announced. We know that there are pressures from the sector and that it could be taken off the agenda but what’s really limiting movement right now are the restrictions from the Foreign Office.”

After reiterating that Spain was closely monitoring the spread of the virus in the UK, she added: “Our constant contact with the British authorities will give us the certainty we need to be able to reopen things between the two countries so that we’ll be able to receive the British tourists who are so fond of us as a destination as soon as we can.”

Spain is set to run a pilot scheme this month which will require tourists to undergo coronavirus tests at the airport and then remain isolated for six hours in their hotels to await the results.

Maroto earlier said that travellers from Germany and Nordic countries such as Norway and Denmark were most likely to be allowed to participate in the test-run before restrictions were lifted.

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