MADRID: International cruise ships will be able to dock in Spanish ports from June 7, the Spanish government said on Saturday, lifting a ban imposed when the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic began.
The measure will be lifted due to the easing of the virus in Europe where most cruise passengers come from, as well as rising vaccination numbers, a transport ministry statement said.
It was also due to the falling numbers of virus cases in regions where most cruise ships dock.
The ban was first imposed in mid-March 2020 and later took the form of a resolution, which was published on June 23 by Spain’s Directorate General of Shipping (DGMM).
Before the pandemic, Spain was Europe’s second-most popular destination for cruise ship stopovers, the ministry said, indicating it played an important economic role for the Spanish economy.
In 2019, international cruises contributed around €2.8 billion ($3.4 billion) to Spain’s gross domestic product, accounting for some 50,000 jobs and €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) in wages, the ministry said, citing figures from the Cruise Lines International Association.
With nearly 80,000 deaths and more than 3.6 million infections, Spain has been badly hit by the pandemic but the number of cases has slowed significantly as its vaccination program has gathered pace.