• 70% of Costa Blanca holiday home properties are available in July and August due to the high percentage of cancellations

Nearly 40,000 holiday homes are available on the Costa Blanca during July and August due to the high percentage of booking cancellations that have been made in recent weeks, especially from UK travellers who have had the cheap flights they bought months ago cancelled.

With airline prices much higher most are now choosing to postpone their trip, according to data collected by the Costa Blanca Tourist Apartments Association (Aptur).

This summer the occupation of these homes is only a third of that compared to last summer. Due to the nature of this type of accommodation, it is almost impossible to reach occupancy of 100% every day during the high season since, when they are vacated, they have to be cleaned in preparation for the new tenants. This year, in addition, holiday rental companies are leaving at least 48 hours before offering the apartment again as a precaution against coronavirus.

“This is because of the security needs of our customers and our employees. If there is any possibility of a virus, in 48 hours it will disappear as the accommodation is aerated, cleaned and disinfected. If we have fewer reservations and the arrivals do not overlap with departures, everyone’s security is increased. We have already told our owners that occupancy cannot be maximized, “said Miguel Ángel Sotillos, president of Aptur.

Although they receive calls, emails and searches through popular tourist rental websites, reservations come in randomly with many at the last minute, particularly from holidaymakers within Spain who might decide to travel just 48 hours in advance. Before they do so they ask about the measures taken against the virus in the pools and beaches at destination, whether they are safe, and if it is safe to go out to local bars and restaurants.

Until now, the presence of the British was minimal, although this week flights have begun to arrive so we anticipate numbers increasing, as we do with the French and the Algerians, nationalities that have gradually risen in recent summers, especially those with families.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in case the authorities change the rules and fear that they won’t be able to reclaim their deposits.

Also the Association of Apartments and Houses for Tourist Use in Alicante (Abatur) has received a large number of cancellations, 20% more in the last few days.

“People do not have the confidence, knowing if they will be able to go on holiday or not in case of flare-ups. We have a lot of last minute reservations”, said a spokesperson from the Daniel Elman collective. At the moment national tourism is 90 percent of the clientele. “We hope to see the percentage of foreigners rise to 30 percent in August,” he says.

During the state of alarm virtually all of our summer bookings were cancelled. In contrast, the tourist apartment sector already has 35% of it’s bookings for Christmas, many of them international visitors who are taking advantage of cheap flights.

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