JUST 17 of Benidorm’s hotels out of 140 are to remain open as the tourism industry is destroyed by the UK quarantine restriction.
The popular holiday hotspot relies on British tourists, who have deserted the resort.
Benidorm 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 per cent, the highest rate since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Forecasts predict this level will now plunge back to 37 per cent and even lower in tourist apartments though campsites remain very popular.
Because of the lack of Brits, 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.
Last week, Spain’s tourism minister Reyes Maroto announced new “protocols” were being planned for tourists travelling to the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands once safe travel corridors are agreed.
This would mean having a negative coronavirus test to visit destinations such as Majorca, Ibiza and Tenerife.
The new rules would also mean travellers would have to test negative 48 hours before they depart the Balearic and Canary Islands.
The tests will be free of charge but those who return a positive Covid-19 result will be stopped from flying home and must quarantine.
Tourists will be offered free accommodation in hotels and other properties that are set aside for quarantining purposes. Any hospital and medical fees will also be covered.
However, the island airports have told the Spanish government that there is insufficient space for testing on arrival to be carried out.
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The Canary government says it will have to look at “plan B” which would involve testing holidaymakers once they arrive at their hotels.
This, however, would mean arrivals using holiday flats or villas would be left out.
Tourism leaders say the failure of the airport authority to provide space is regarded as a major setback to their plans to reactivate the winter season and for the Canaries to be regarded as a safe destination.