People who travel to Scotland from Spain will no longer have to go into quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
The change, coming in later this week, was sanctioned after a review of infection rates in mainland Spain and the Spanish islands.
The move opens the path for Scots to go on holiday in Spain, and for Spaniards to travel to Scotland.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said further countries could yet be added to the list of “air bridge” destinations.
But he warned that Covid-19 was “still active and still deadly” and added that further changes would only be made when it was “safe to do so”.
People who travel into the UK from abroad are required to go into quarantine for two weeks on arrival, or risk a fine.
However, a list of countries around Europe and the globe have been made exempt from this, creating “air bridges” to allow people to travel more freely.
The Scottish government – which has control over public health measures north of the border – initially did not include Spain on its list of countries exempt from self-isolation requirements, citing concerns about the prevalence of coronavirus there.
The move saw airlines cancel flights between Scotland and Spain, and sparked concern in the travel, tourism and airline industries.
However, a “thorough review” has now been conducted and means Spain and its islands will be added to the list later in the week.
Mr Yousaf said: “Following this latest review and having carefully considered the potential public health impact of changing the country exemptions for quarantine, we are able to lift that requirement for those travelling from Spain.
“We are continuously keeping other countries under review and where there is clear evidence that it is safe to do so, we will add further countries.
“Clearly the virus has not gone away. It is still active and it is still deadly. With the quarantine restrictions being lifted from these countries this means we have to be even more careful about what we are doing.
“Anyone travelling should follow public health advice at all times including wearing face coverings, avoiding crowded places, washing hands and surfaces, staying two metres apart and self-isolating if they get symptoms and immediately registering for a test.”
The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association welcomed the move, saying it “means that Scots can still take advantage of a summer holiday after a long period in lockdown” and shows that “Scotland is open for business again”.
‘Unworkable blanket quarantine policy’
The Unite union had warned that 1,500 workers are at risk of redundancy from airlines and companies operating at Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow airports, saying the sector was under “immense pressure”.
Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said it was a welcome development, adding: “This will hopefully provide confidence to people intending to travel as well as airlines looking to rebuild Scotland’s connectivity.
“The situation has been difficult for everyone and the decisions that the Scottish government have had to take are ones we do not envy, but we are glad to see the unworkable blanket quarantine policy effectively being removed for one that is more targeted based on quantified risk.”
He added: “Despite this change we still have to unfortunately accept that the normally busy summer season is effectively gone and that will directly impact on jobs in the sector.
“We have tried to protect as many jobs as we can and we continue to work with unions on this, but this pandemic has decimated the aviation industry and it will continue to have a bearing on us for months to come.”
Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports which owns Aberdeen and Glasgow airports, said: “The omission of Spain from the initial quarantine exemption list resulted in the cancellation of many flights.
“With just three weeks left of the school holidays, the removal of travel restrictions will provide airlines with the confidence to maintain their popular Spanish routes and afford families the opportunity to get away for some sun.”
Where can I go without quarantining on return?
Travellers are exempt from quarantine rules when they arrive in Scotland from:
Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Réunion, San Marino, Seychelles, South Korea, Spain, St Barthélemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Vatican City, Vietnam.