No visa bid for Bri­tish tourists

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

Span­ish gov­ern­ment to fight against visa pro­pos­als

THE GOV­ERN­MENT will fight to en­sure that Bri­tish vis­i­tors to Spain do not have to fill out a visa ap­pli­ca­tion af­ter Brexit.

This was the mes­sage given by sec­re­tary of state for Euro­pean af­fairs Jorge Toledo, when he vis­ited Ali­cante on Tues­day to at­tend the fo­rum set up by Ali­cante Univer­sity and regional news­pa­per Diario In­for­ma­ción to dis­cuss the im­pli­ca­tions of Brexit.

Ali­cante busi­ness­men voiced con­cerns about the im­pact on tourism, with 19 mil­lion trips made to Spain last year by vis­i­tors from the UK.

Sr Toledo recog­nised that the Bri­tish mar­ket is ‘ fun­da­men­tal’ for Ali­cante prov­ince and the coun­try as a whole.

He said the na­tional gov­ern­ment is hop­ing to en­sure these tourists will be able to visit Spain with­out hav­ing to fill out ad­di­tional pa­per­work af­ter Bri­tain leaves the Euro­pean Union. Sr Toledo noted that the UK has never been in the so­called Schen­gen Area, in which in­ter­nal bor­der checks have largely been abol­ished.

He said the po­si­tion of the gov­ern­ment in the cur­rent ne­go­ti­a­tions is that Bri­tons should only have to show a pass­port to en­ter Spain – as they do at the mo­ment.

Sr Toledo added that per­haps a big­ger po­ten­tial prob­lem is find­ing a sub­sti­tu­tion for the ‘open skies’ agree­ment, which the UK is cur­rently part of with the rest of the coun­tries in the EU.

Bud­get air­line Ryanair has al­ready stated that they fear this could lead to planes be­ing grounded.

Sr Toledo said it could be dif­fi­cult for ne­go­tia­tors to reach a deal which will main­tain the cur­rent num­ber of flights be­tween the EU and the UK.

He added that a loss of pur­chas­ing power of Bri­tish buy­ers due to a weaker pound post-Brexit could also have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on prop­erty sales in Ali­cante prov­ince.

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