Benidorm crisis looms as majority of hotels face devastating closures amid UK travel ban

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Benidorm is a holiday location which thrives largely thanks to British tourists. However, since Spain was axed from the UK travel corridor list on July 25, the much-loved holiday hotspot has struggled to keep its head above water.

Now, officials in the region are calling for more ways to reinvigorate travel, warning of a stark future if not.

According to local reports, Benidorm will be left with just seventeen hotels open in the coming days.

This is linked directly to the lack of footfall from British tourists.

On average, around 75 percent of the town’s tourist traffic is made up of UK visitors.

However, those who want to visit Benidorm this year must pay the price of 14-days of quarantine, with huge financial consequences for those who fail to comply.

The resort is still pressing for a safe air corridor to be set up between Alicante airport and the UK, asking to be considered as a “bubble island” despite being on the mainland.

But after holding out for two bank holidays in October, Benidorm hoteliers say they now have no choice but to close their doors.

There are around 140 hotels in the resort but only 29 were open for the fiestas which brought around 46,000 people to the beaches which are still divided up into plots.

Tourist chiefs say that thanks to holidaymakers travelling from all parts of Spain to Benidorm for the bank holiday breaks, occupancy reached 70 percent, the highest rate since the coronavirus pandemic began.

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Forecasts predict this level will now plunge back to 37 percent and even lower in tourist apartments though campsites remain very popular.

Pointing to the absence of its usual UK crowd, Benidorm council says of the 29 hotels left open, 12 plan to temporarily close their doors over the next few days.

Toni Mayor, president of the hotel association, Hosbec said: “We are sure that if the air corridors recover, the perspective of our tourism would be very different.

“More hotel openings, more employment, plus the spin-off effect for the entire auxiliary tourism industry.

“But without mobility, there is no future and air mobility must recover as soon as possible, exchanging security restrictions and quarantines for coronavirus tests.”

Manager of Visit Benidorm, Leire Bilbao said if the safe air route was approved, coronavirus tests would be offered in place of quarantine as part of the “bubble” and Benidorm would become the only island on the mainland operating for the British market over the winter.

One special feature would be the setting up of a hospitality team to monitor tourists during their stay in Benidorm and for a period of 14 days after their return to the UK.

Monitoring apps would also be used and hotels would have all the COVID-free regulations in force.

The “bubble island” concept was first suggested last month by regional authorities.

Tourism leaders in the resort called for both Spanish and UK governments to endorse the new idea in time for the autumn months.

Benidorm’s mayor, Toni Perez said the status would allow the holiday hotspot to act as a “safe tourist destination that behaves like an island in order to recover its position in the British market.”

“A destination like Benidorm cannot stand still,” he stressed.

As part of the “Benidorm Island” plans, weekly tests would be offered to labour personnel and public workers linked to tourism to ensure the best health conditions.

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.

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