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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Marita Moloney

Spain holidays: Resort expects Irish tourists in 'droves' as new EU rules 'unlikely' to stop travel

An Irish-owned resort in Spain is expecting an influx of holidaymakers from Ireland in the coming months despite new EU-wide travel rules.

From February 1, travel to and from Ireland across the bloc will be impacted by changes to Digital Covid Cert rules.

The measures say that from Tuesday, a 270-day validity period will be applied to the Covid Certs.

This means that for people who were vaccinated over nine months ago and have not had a booster, they will not be allowed to enter other EU countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece unless they have a valid, negative test result.

As for travellers who have recently recovered from infection, they must prove they have a recovery cert within the last 180 days or a negative test result.

People who have availed of their booster jabs will be able to travel using their updated certs.

La Cala Resort in Mijas, Malaga. (La Cala Resort)

Sean Corte-Real, the General Manager of La Cala Resort in Mijas, Malaga is reporting strong bookings for February and March as Irish holidaymakers seek out some winter sun in Spain.

La Cala Resort, owned by Irish company FBD Holdings, first opened 33 years ago and has welcomed thousands of visitors from Ireland since, particularly golf enthusiasts who seek out the resort's three championship courses.

Mr Corte-Real does not expect the updated EU rules to have an impact on business as he believes people who have not availed of their boosters will still find a way to travel.

"I think people are going to want to travel and they're going to find a way to do it," he told the Irish Mirror.

"For those who haven't had their boosters or their vaccinations, I'm guessing they will just get tested if they want to travel.

"Fortunately, a lot of people have been vaccinated across Europe and they're the majority and they're going to be free to travel without having to be tested.

"These things are always changing, every couple of weeks it seems there's a new rule, so who knows what it's going to be like. in the summertime.

"But I think if people are going to want to travel, they will, they'll find a way, they'll get tested, they'll get boosted, they'll get their vaccinations.

"I think ultimately, people will want to get out, get away and have their holidays."

Mr Corte-Real said after a few months where bookings were impacted by the Omicron wave across Europe, things are now starting to look up.

"We've got a lot of bookings coming in from all over, from all countries, including Ireland obviously which we're very happy about," he said.

The resort is a popular destination for Irish holidaymakers. (La Cala Resort)

"January is always a funny month because it's just after Christmas, after New Year's, and then you add on to that Omicron, so January would still not have as many [Irish tourists] as usual.

"But certainly it's starting now for February, March, April, we're seeing a lot of Irish now starting to book and come out."

Looking towards the summer, he added that he is always careful not to make too many predictions in light of the past couple of years.

However, he believes the resort will have "a very strong summer" with Spain and other warm countries expected to be "very busy".

"I think and I hope [Irish people will visit in their droves], Spain has traditionally been the number one destination for the Irish and I believe it will continue to be so," Mr Core-Real said.

"The numbers show us this, we're getting a lot of Irish bookings, not just for golf but for summer holidays, in the spring for Easter holidays, so yes, I really think from what we're seeing we're going to get a lot of Irish coming out to Spain and especially here to La Cala."

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