Travel Alert: Spain's Dramatic Bid to Transform 90-day rule for British citizens in Spain in the EU!
By Nigel Clarkson Jan 23 2024
The latest developments regarding the 90-day rule for British citizens in Spain indicate ongoing efforts by the Spanish government to provide more flexibility for UK nationals.
Currently, non-resident British citizens can only stay for up to 90 days within any 180 days across the European Union, including Spain. This rule has particularly impacted second-home owners and frequent visitors from the UK.
Spain has been actively lobbying the EU to exempt British tourists from this rule, acknowledging the significant contribution UK visitors make to its economy.
British nationals constitute a substantial portion of Spain's tourists, with nearly 2 million UK citizens visiting Spain in the first quarter of 2022 alone.
Spain's tourism sector, which relies heavily on British visitors, has been advocating for changes to these restrictions.
Moreover, Spain's Tourism Secretary has stated that the decision to extend the stay beyond 90 days is not within the Spanish government's control, as the UK is not an EU member state.
Hence, any change must be approved by European authorities. In the meantime, the Spanish government is planning to request an incentive from the European Union to allow UK nationals to expand their stay.
As part of the efforts to accommodate British citizens, Spain is considering various options.
For instance, property owners who invest at least €500,000 in Spanish real estate can apply for a Golden Visa, which offers benefits including longer stays, access to education in top international schools, advanced healthcare services, and permission to work in Spain.
This situation is under continuous review, and any changes to the current rule will require consensus among EU member states.
For the most up-to-date information on the 90-day rule for British citizens in Spain, British nationals are advised to check the UK Government's travel advice regularly.
Brits to spend more on holidays this summer, Spain remains top destination
The average Brit holidaymaker is expected to fork out £2,110 on foreign breaks this summer – up 48% from an average of £1,420 last year – with one destination expected to see £11bn in tourism
This is despite the cost-of-living crisis, with two-thirds of travelers saying they will still go abroad this year.
Spain is still the most popular destination for British tourists, with UK residents spending £11 billion there last year. France came in second, with £4.9 billion, followed by Greece, Italy, and Portugal.
The United States also remained popular, with British tourists spending £5.1 billion there last year.
James Brockbank, founder of the Family Vacation Guide, said that travelers are making up for trips lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The cost-of-living crisis has had an impact, but travel agents have also reported that while consumers have less money, overall they're still prioritizing holidays."
The increase in spending on foreign holidays is likely due to a number of factors, including pent-up demand after two years of travel restrictions, a weaker pound, and rising disposable incomes.
Let's go Menorca website has reported a 25% increase in organic traffic compared to last year which is good news for the island's tourism industry.
However, it is also worth noting that the cost of travel has also increased in recent months, due to factors such as rising fuel prices and airfares.
It remains to be seen whether the trend of increased spending on foreign holidays will continue in the coming years. However, for now, it seems that British tourists are still willing to splash the cash on their summer getaways.
Pete Clarke - Travel Editor - 03/07/20