Benidorm welcomes the first of British tourists

by Lorraine Williamson
British tourists welcome again

BENIDORM – Benidorm expects more British tourists to arrive as Monday was the first day Spain officially reopened its borders to tourism from the UK without restrictions. 

Hotels and bars in the eastern Spanish coastal town recognise they “need” the British traveller. Furthermore, it is hoped the situation “will be continue so when September arrives, there can be a recovery. Thereafter leading into a good winter season.” The CEO of the Port Hotels chain, Rafael Blanquer, admitted this in a statement to  Europa Press Televisión. He added, despite the fact an increase in the number of bookings has been noted, this is only ‘anecdotal’. And it is ‘very small in terms of volume’. 

“We see more UK customers arriving and are optimistic this could be the sign of more positive things to come. Let’s hope the British are given enough encouragement in June and July. Then from September we believe all travel restrictions will be lifted. Perhaps we can then look forward to a decent winter season. 

Located on Levante Beach, the Port Hotel has 288 rooms. Before the pandemic, 70% of these would normally be occupied by tourists from the United Kingdom. However, in 2021, this was only 1%. 

Cogesa Expats

Now mainly Spanish and French 

Currently, it is mainly Spanish and French who are booking their holidays or weekends breaks in Benidorm. Blanquer admitted his hotel ‘really needs’ the UK market. It is a market that normally guarantees a significant number of tourists. Therefore, it is only natural for entrepreneurs in related sectors such as the hotel and catering industry and souvenir shops also miss the British tourist.

The news that Spanish borders are now open to UK tourists without restrictions prompted many businesses to start preparing after months of being closed. However, people continue to fear there could be further mobility restrictions. 

Amber traffic light 

Moreover, while Spain opens its borders to the British without restrictions, Britain continues to enforce limitations on travel.  Spain is still coloured amber in the British traffic light the British system, therefore the government regulates international travel.  Valencia has made a request for ‘safe corridors’ between Valencia and the UK. 

Safest place in Europe 

The Valencia region calls itself ‘the safest place in Europe’ with a virus incidence of 29 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The incidence of Spain as a whole is 140. Incidence rates are low on the Canary and Balearic Islands, however the whole of Spain is currently classed as amber. Although according the official UK Goverment website, no changes have been made to the level of FCDO travel advice for any regions of Spain. Therefore, we continue to advise against all but essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic Islands, but excluding the Canary Islands. That is why Benidorm wants to get the same benefits as the Canary Islands, despite the archipelago also being coloured amber by the British government. 

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