BENIDORM – Until June, Benidorm will have a hard time attracting British tourists because the UK travel advice for all of Spain is not green. Despite Valencia having a low virus incidence, the colour amber still applies. As a result, this means tourist must quarantine for 10 days after returning home.
In addition, they must also undergo two more tests after they return. However, like the entire region of Valencia, Benidorm has a five times lower virus incidence than the average for Spain. The tourist hotspot on the Spanish east coast therefore wants to be assessed separately from the rest of the country. Ideally in the form of a safe corridor between the UK and the Costa Blanca. It is vital for Benidorm as over 42% tourists who visit Benidorm annually (in the pre-corona era) are British.
The industry insists on showing UK officials that Benidorm behaves ‘like an island’ where tourists enjoy the city. Once they are in the municipality, they do not travel to the rest of the country.
Low incidence as an argument
On Wednesday, the Hosbec hotel association explained the information about the low incidence in the area is continuously being collated. This is then transferred to tour operators, the British Embassy and the United Kingdom Consulate in Spain, to airlines, airport and tourist authorities. Moreover, it is hoped the Valencia region in the following assessment of tourist destinations can be classified as ‘green’ in the traffic light for travellers.
Incidence lower than in UK
The last data transferred corresponds to May 10th. At that time, the cumulative 14-day incidence in Benidorm was 29.8 cases per 100,000 population. In Alicante (31.2), Valencia (33.5), Castellón (60.8), Comunitat Valenciana (35.6), Balearic Islands (58.4), Canary Islands (85.8), Spain (189). Another indication to be taken into account is the vaccination rate. While 53.4% of the UK population has been vaccinated with at least one dose, the same is true for 29.9% of Spanish residents.
At present, the color code ‘amber’ applies to Spain as a whole. This means British tourists must go through a series of restrictions to be allowed to travel. This includes a negative test before return, ten days of self-confinement at home on return, plus two PCR tests. The first of which is on the second day of arrival in the UK and another on the eighth day . The tourism sector sees this as an important barrier for tourists to choose Spain as a holiday destination.
Spain has to be green
Therefore, the goal is for the whole of Spain to be labelled ‘green’. Moreover, this would mean the ten-day quarantine would disappear. Under current guidelines, the colour assignment in the UK traffic light system is reviewed every three weeks. This means that Spain cannot achieve a better position until June.
In their desire for a better classification that will bring British tourists back to Benidorm, Visit Benidorm launched an offensive to get British to listen to them. Not only did they transfer the collected incidence data, but also divided Spain into different areas with traffic lights. For example, this week a statement was sent to the national media to report on the city’s data regarding the health situation. In addition, the Benidorm City Council wants to meet with the British Ambassador to Spain to explain the situation.
Blame from Ayuso
Meanwhile, the deputy of the PP in parliament Agustín Almodóbar (born in Benidorm) brought the debate to Madrid. In his speech, the honorable Member regretted that rival tourism countries, such as Portugal, are already operating as safe destinations. Almodóbar spoke of the ‘manifest passivity’ of the national government in this regard.
Foreign Minister González Laya reacted with irritation, blaming the Madrid region, led by Isabel Díaz Ayuso. The high incidence there is raising the national average and thus driving the entire country to ‘amber’ in British travel advice.
As a result, Benidorm calls for more international diplomatic negotiations. This would ensure the region of Valencia is judged on its own merits and can serve as a safe corridor. This request has so far been without success.