Foreign tourism will return to Spain in July and without quarantine restrictions, according to the Pedro Sánchez government.
The announcement has sat well within the tourism sector of Benidorm, but it is one about which they still remain cautious because of the unpredictability of human behaviour in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Toni Mayor, President of the hoteliers association, Hosbec, said that the airlines are eager to start up their activities once again but he fears that there will be casualties, with the weakest falling, as they have been so long without income.
Until now the most widespread opinion was to think that summer would only be for the national market and as such they anticipated opening around 50% of hotel establishments. However, now Mayor predicts that they will need to open more accommodation knowing that there may be a more substantial market share. All this, he pointed out, will only be if the pandemic recedes and the necessary conditions exist to restart flights at the European level.
He also said that it will be necessary to take into account the fear of traveling in these circumstances and the evolution of the pandemic in the United Kingdom which will affect many millions of holidaymakers, knowing that the British market accounts for 41% of the occupation of the city’s skyscrapers.
“It will not be a summer to boast of percentages,” said the Association President, adding that “he would settle for reaching 70% occupancy this summer.” But he also said that he sees the season lasting longer, with sales in the United Kingdom outside the summer period. “If there is demand, we open all the hotels,” he said, stating that even those who have decided to ‘hibernate’ until Easter next year, could consider reopening.
The data is quite clear, with searches on booking web portals triggered by Spaniards since Pedro Sánchez’s announcement. According to Destinia, it has increased 160% for Spanish destinations, with Benidorm being the most sought after. But the important thing now is to convert it into bookings, said the manager of Visit Benidorm, Leire Bilbao.
They see it with “some caution, but it is undoubtedly very pleasing that both in the United Kingdom and in Spain those searches are for our city, which means that we are at the forefront of everybody’s idea of an ideal summer holiday,” she said.
As for the international tourist, “we are still concerned about the British quarantine that will be established in three-week periods starting on June 8, as the pandemic evolves in the United Kingdom,” said Bilbao, adding that with “fines of 1,000 pounds for those who do not comply and with periods of 15 days quarantine on their return from holiday, it is very difficult, at this stage, to make any plans.”
“Right now there are no foreign tourists booked for the summer, we have to wait for their countries to ease their own travel restrictions,” explained Sotillos, admitting that July will be just for Spanish tourism.