Covid-19 has taken its toll, not only with lives lost, but with businesses destroyed or on the point of collapse.
Perhaps, one of the hardest hit is the tourist industry – particularly in southern Spain. Attention has been directed to the airline and hospitality sectors – yet, one change in the Schengen rules could help so many smaller businesses.
British (and European) tourists like to visit southern Spain for the winter.
Many have even bought holiday homes or take the long trek south in their motorhomes – the counterpart of the American snowbirders.
At present, the Schengen Treaty restricts the time that can be spent, as a tourist, in another European country to 90 days in any 180 days.
This restriction has made many think twice about the economics of buying a holiday home or travelling such a long distance for only part of the winter.
The United Kingdom allows European visitors to stay for up to 180 days in a year – and these can be consecutive days.
If Europe could reciprocate with the same arrangement, making an allowable stay of up to 180 days instead of the two periods of 90 days in a year, it would be to the advantage of many.
Local Spanish businesses (countless owned by ex-pats!) would benefit and the Spanish economy could be revitalised.
The majority of holiday home owners and motorhomers are of retirement age and the warmer winter climes and relaxed lifestyle benefits their health and well-being.
So – a boost to Spanish tourism and a reduction of the strain on the NHS.
Please could I urge you to take action on the behalf of so many.