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No early return for UK tourists, says Spain

Photo source: Toa Heftiba/Unsplash

Spain's tourism minister has poured cold water on(1) any thoughts of an early return by UK visitors to the resorts of Spain.

According to María Reyes Maroto, British coronavirus statistics(2) "still have to improve" before Spain would welcome holidaymakers from the UK. Only last week, the government said that people coming to Spain from abroad would not have to undergo a two-week quarantine from 1 July. But Ms Reyes Maroto warned that(3) any return to normality in the tourism sector would be resumed "gradually".

In a statement she said: "For Spain, it is very important that the first tourists are those who are in the same epidemiological situation as us, and that they are able to fly safely. Regarding the United Kingdom, there have been talks with tour operators but British data still have to improve, because it's important to ensure that the person comes well and then returns well."

The tourism minister said that as soon as the situation in the UK showed signs of definite improvement, Spain would receive people from the UK.

Spain is the holiday destination of choice for 80 million people annually tourism provides approximately 12% of the country's GDP.

Whilst Spain is preparing to end its quarantine policy, there will be a compulsory 14-day quarantine(4) for anyone arriving in the UK from 8 June, and this includes returning holidaymakers.

People who are lucky enough to reside(5) in those parts of Europe that have escaped the worst of the pandemic will soon be able to fly more freely again, as more tourist destinations are beginning to ease in-coming travel restrictions; Greece has announced that flights to Athens and Thessaloniki airports will resume on 15 June, with other Greek airports following suit(6) on 1 July.

Meanwhile, in the far south-west of Europe, the Portuguese tourism authorities have said beaches in the Algarve region, and its international airport in Faro, will reopen for tourists on 6 June.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) continues to advise(7) against all non-essential foreign travel.

Notes and questions:

1. To pour cold water on

Expression: to put an end to an idea; to cast doubt on something

I had planned to buy a round-the-world ticket, but my parents poured cold water on the idea, by asking how I was going to pay for it.

Question: Can you think of an expression involving hot water?

2. Statistics

Figures, numbers. Statistics is a branch of mathematics, which politicians love to quote to make their argument seem stronger.

A former British Prime Minister once said: “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.”

Question: What do you think he meant by this?

3. ...said that, warned that, explained that...

She said that she was hungry.

She said she was hungry.

They explained that they had travelled all through the night.

They explained they had travelled all through the night.

Question: Is there any difference in these pairs of example sentences?

4. Quarantine – we have all become familiar with this word, but...

Question: Which language did English borrow this word from, and what does it literally mean?

5. Reside

Verb: more formal synonym for to live

Question: Can you think of a noun from reside?

6. to follow suit

This expression means doing the same thing. It comes from certain card games, in which each player must lay a card from the same suit.

Question: What are the four suits in a pack of playing cards?

7. advise or advice?

To advise is a verb, the advice is a noun

I was advised to avoid that part of the city. I took their advice.

Question: Can you think of which pair of words, beginning with p--, has an identical pattern of spelling?


Q1. To get into hot water is an idiomatic way of saying: to get into trouble

Q2. He meant that statistics can be manipulated, twisted to mean anything that the speaker wants, and therefore cannot always be trusted.

Q3. There is no difference in meaning. Most native speakers tend to leave out (omit) the “that”.

Q4. Quarantine is from French, meaning 40 days (of isolation)

Q5. Residence is a synonym for a place to live. Again, it is more formal (higher register) than “house”.

Q6. The fours suits are: hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades

They are usually referred to in the plural: The 3 of spades. The king of diamonds...

Q7. To practise and the practice.

My neighbour practises his golf swing in the back garden.

This is very good practice.

These are more difficult to spell than advise/advice (and many native speakers get them confused) because they sound identical.

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