“It is going to be a very poor summer,” said the president of the Hosbec hotel association, Toni Mayor, unless there is “a miracle in late July or August.” This was the situation that was revealed on the Levante beach to King Felipe and Queen Letizia during their visit to Benidorm on Friday.
Their walk in the sun began late morning at the Belroy hotel on la avenida del Mediterraneo, where, for more than an hour, a meeting with businessmen and unions was held, and where their concerns were made absolutely clear to the royal couple.
Mayor made it clear to the king that the measures taken to date are nowhere near enough to rescue the sector. “We do not believe that enough has been done to save tourism. Much remains to be done if we are to revive the sector for the summer of 2021, since we consider this year, 2020, to be lost,” said the businessman.
Not surprisingly, the data released a few hours later by Hosbec reinforced his statement: showing that in mid-summer only 44% of the hotels in Benidorm have reopened their doors.
Following the meeting Don Felipe and Doña Letizia then walked to the Levante beach, continuing along the front for about 300 metres, to la avenida Doctor Orts Llorca, where they got into a waiting car to continue their visit in Valencia. They spent around half an hour walking through the town and along the seafront where they regularly stopped and chatted to members of the public.
There were no security barriers other than an invisible wall marked by the Casa Real team, the couple were able to make their way along the seafront where they were welcomed by cheers and calls of “Long live Spain!” or “Long live the Civil Guard!”
On their way, a woman tried to give Doña Letizia some flags, but they were taken by the security team, however, a young girl did manage to approach them to present a small bunch of flowers.
During their visit the couple met the Minister of Science and Innovation, Pedro Duque and the President of the Valencian Generalitat, Ximo Puig, who had previously been in the meeting with businessmen and unions. In addition, there was the Government delegate in the Community, Gloria Calero; the Minister of Public Administrations and Justice, Gabriela Bravo; the president of the Alicante Provincial Council, Carlos Mazón, and the mayor of Benidorm, Toni Pérez.
Another stop during the “royal” tour was at the Sirvent ice cream parlour, where Doña Letizia explained that they did not take sugar however the King was encouraged to try the sugar-free Xixona nougat. “It’s great,” said Felipe VI.
At the end of their short walk they were greeted by a banner “Welcome to Benidorm” held by a number of local residents who said they were delighted with the visit to the city, the first occasion that Felipe VI has visited Benidorm since he became king. The last time he was in the city was when he attended the opening of Terra Mítica in July 2000.
For Doña Letizia this was her second in the town, the last being in June 2018 when she attended the celebration for the International Day of Deafblind People.
Don Felipe and Doña Letizia then travelled to València, where they presided over the presentation ceremony for the 2019 National Awards for Innovation and Design.