Spain wants to scrap 90 day rule for British tourists, allowing them to stay indefinitely

Spain is an extremely popular destination with British tourists, but some travellers have been stymied by post-Brexit rules.
Spain is an extremely popular destination with British tourists, but some travellers have been stymied by post-Brexit rules.   -   Copyright  Canva
By Charlotte Elton

Spain wants to scrap the 90 day limit for UK visitors, allowing them to stay in the country indefinitely.

Non-EU visitors are only allowed to visit Schengen area countries for 90 days in every 180 day period.

But Spain is set to ask EU authorities to relax this rule for British holidaymakers.

The restriction works against Spain’s interests, Spanish Tourism Secretary Fernando Valdés said.

“Unfortunately, [the rule] is not something Spain has established by itself or can get rid of,” he told the i newspaper.

“It is true that after Brexit some problems have emerged with people wanting to stay longer.”

Spain plans to lobby Brussels to exempt British tourists from the rule, Valdés explained.

“It is in our interest to lobby and convince [the EU] we can try to work an exception with them. But the solution must come from them,” he said.

Why are British tourists so important to Spain?

Before the pandemic, Spain received around 84 million tourists per year. A whopping 17 million of these visitors came from Britain.

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Tourists in Barcelona. Spain relies on tourism for 12 per cent of its GDP.Canva

The number dropped with the onset of pandemic restrictions.

However, numbers started to surge again this year, with 1.8 million Brits visiting Spain in the first quarter of 2022.

Spain relies on tourism for 12 per cent of its GDP.

But Brexit has made travel between the two countries more difficult, as the UK exits EU-wide free movement agreements.

Talks over residency permits and tourism have often stalled. In May, British expats were banned from driving in the country using their UK licences after talks broke down.

However, Spain is keen to see Brits return. They are also currently negotiating the details of a bilateral agreement allowing tourism workers to stay in Spain throughout the holiday season.