Valencia has moved firmly into the 'new normal' and is ready to welcome international tourists to enjoy its wonderful food, drink, sights and sounds again.
The last phase out of lockdown ended in Spain at midnight, last night, and the Spanish government has said European travellers, including from the United Kingdom, can now visit without having to self-isolate on arrival.
More frequent flights from Switzerland and the Netherlands are already arriving to Valencia airport and more are expected to land from France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Romania, next week.
The number of new daily COVID cases is 10 times lower* in Spain than in the United Kingdom at the moment and so Spain has made more progress easing lockdown. However, the British government is expected to review the self-isolation requirement for passengers arriving or returning to the United Kingdom by 29 June. If the requirement is removed it would pave the way for Brits to enjoy visiting Valencia more easily again too.
What can tourists expect in Valencia?
The sun is out, the skies are blue, the sea is warm and the paella and wine tastes better than ever. Now the state of emergency has ended the city really is enjoying relative normality again.
The Valencia region has been relatively lucky in the pandemic, with an average of 2.3 confirmed cases in total per 1,000 of population, compared with 10.7 for the Madrid region, 7.9 for Catalonia, 3.1 for London and 19.9 for New York.**
Nonetheless, authorities are not being complacent and there are still plenty of preventative measures in place so tourists can relax and feel safe, including:
- Face masks must be warn on public transport, in shops and when it is not possible to maintain a social distance of 1.5m (5 ft) between people.
- Most tourism businesses can operate at a maximum of 60%-75% of their usual capacity.
- Frequent hand-washing or sanitisation with gel is promoted.
- Staff in tourism services have received special training.
- Plenty of tours and activities are available, including wonderful boat trips.
- Beaches are open with special rules to maintain minimum distances between groups.
- Bars and restaurants are open, there's plenty of outdoor seating, staff wear masks but customers don't need to wear masks while eating or drinking.
- Open air events are limited to 800 people.
- Hospital bed capacities are being carefully watched and early warning systems for COVID outbreaks are in place. The government has said it will be particularly vigilant for cases around tourist hotspots.
Of course, some people will feel more comfortable traveling now than others, but after such a crazy few months, perhaps now is just the moment for you to take that relaxed city break to Valencia?
* On 19 June 2020 there were 1,346 cases confirmed for the day in the United Kingdom compared with 134 in Spain.
** Valencia region defined as the autonomous community of Valencia with a population of 5,003,769 in 2019. Source Spanish Government National Statistics Institute. Madrid region defined as the autonomous community of Madrid with a population of 6,663,394 in 2019. Source Spanish Government National Statistics Institute. Catalonia defined as the autonomous community of Catalonia with a population of 7,675,217 in 2019. Source Spanish Government National Statistics Institute. London defined as the English region of London with a population of 8,908,081 in 2018. Source UK Government Office for National Statistics. New York defined as the State of New York with a population of 19,453,561 in 2019. Source United States Census Bureau. Latest available data on 21 June 2020 for Spanish confirmed COVID-19 cases source Spanish Government Ministry for Health. Latest available data on 21 June 2020 for London confirmed COVID-19 cases source United Kingdom government. Latest available data on 21 June 2020 for New York confirmed COVID-19 cases source Johns Hopkins University.