The Balearic Islands are battling to become the first part of Spain to welcome the British back

The Balearic Islands are battling to become the first part of Spain to welcome back British holidaymakers with vaccine passports.

Regional governors have urged Spain’s Tourism Minister Maria Reyes Maroto to let them start a pilot program for visitors who were tricked into a meeting in Madrid on Friday.

Spanish tourism officials have already confirmed their commitment to the introduction of Covid-19 immunity passports which would allow Britons to resume their love affair with the Costas.

Whitehall sources said the prospect of overseas travel this summer was looking “increasingly positive”.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly confirmed talks with ‘international partners’ over the issue of vaccine passports were underway in a BBC Breakfast interview last week, although he stopped giving guarantees on trips abroad this summer.

It emerged yesterday that British favorites such as Magaluf in Mallorca and San Antonio in Ibiza could be allowed to open up to international tourism if the Covid vaccine passport is given the green light.

The Balearic Islands were chosen last year to test a pilot program involving thousands of German tourists, which started a week before Spain officially reopened its borders to holidaymakers in June after a three-month closure.

The islands‘ tourism minister Iago Negueruela, who attended the meeting in Madrid with the region’s president Francina Armengol, said yesterday: “We have offered to become one of the first regions in Spain where the vaccine passport is tested.

“We showed with last year’s pilot project that we could work effectively and the response from the Spanish government to our proposal was very positive.

“We will now focus our efforts on becoming a leading region in implementing immunity certificates to facilitate mobility.”

The Balearic push for British tourists to return came less than a week after Spain’s Secretary of State for Tourism told Britons: “We look forward to welcoming you back”.

Francisco Valdes said: “The UK is among the countries with the highest vaccination rates in the world and we are aiming for at least 70% of our adult population to be immunized by the summer, so I would say to Brits: ‘Keep your expectations open about holidays in Spain.’”

The Spanish government has confirmed that it is working on the issue of vaccine passports.