Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

10.54 7 Jun 2021


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Travel expert Eoghan Corry says Spain and Portugal are now open for tourism, but it’s Ireland that has continuing travel restrictions.

He said he believes the Government will be “looking for excuses” to push back the planned easing of travel restrictions in mid-July.

Currently, people in Ireland are being asked to only travel for essential reasons.

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EU member states are expected to sign off on the much-vaunted digital green cert system by July 1st.

It’s aimed at allowing people to travel freely within the bloc, once they have evidence they’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19; had a negative result from a PCR test; or recovered from COVID-19 within the last nine months.

Ministers here are hoping to have the EU system implemented here from July 19th onwards.

Eoghan Corry, editor of Air and Travel magazine, told Newstalk Breakfast there'll be no major changes to Ireland's approach to international travel until that date.

However, he said a growing number of countries are now accepting Irish visitors - including Spain and Portugal.

He said: “If you were to count all the holidays we take… 70% of those end up in Portugal or Spain. Portugal has been open since May, and Spain opens this morning.

"The issue still is on our side: non-essential travel is not advised.”

Eoghan explained that air traffic to Spain hasn't reached a high level yet - there's more activity in airports and a trebling of flights, but that's coming from an “incredibly low base”.

However, he explained: “We have a very full schedule for August - we’ve not just got the choices of the routes, but the frequency. Malaga and Faro… have very big frequencies for August.

"The forward bookings for them are quite strong from August, less so for July."

Eoghan said he would have expected Ireland to be leading when it comes to reopening flights.

He said: “The tragedy is we are such an aviation nation… and we’re an island economy..

“But I’m pretty sure from the mood music… we’re going to be dragging our heels a little bit. Even July 19th… they’ll be looking for excuses to pull back on that. That’s our experience since the start of this crisis."

Nonetheless, he said the whole of Europe become "very nationalistic" when the pandemic began last year - and suggested that Italy was "thrown under the bus".

He said the European Commission is now pushing back against that, and wants to stop member states "going their own way" when it comes to travel.

He added: "The aviation industry… safety is what they do.

"They really work on safety, and they’re not going to endanger cabin crew or airport staff: they’re working hard to get on the right side of travelling safety.”

Main image: People sunbathe on the beach of Arenal. Picture by: Clara Margais/DPA/PA Images

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