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BRITISH holidaymakers caught up in travel chaos at UK airports are touching down to Costa cold and rainy and beaches decimated by storms.
Tourists hoping to relax in the sun after mayhem leaving home were facing more disappointment yesterday after arriving to find Spain chillier than parts of Britain and their favourite stretches of sand washed away.
Midday temperatures on most of the Costa Blanca were due to reach just 12 degrees Celsius (53 degrees Fahrenheit), colder than London and just a touch warmer than Manchester.
The start of the day in the Costa del Sol was marked by grey skies and drizzle and it was raining in the Majorcan capital Palma with temperatures nudging just 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) at 11am.
Storms over the past few days have left many beaches on the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol, the most popular stretches of Spanish coastline with British holidaymakers, looking like they’ve been hit by a bomb.
Costa tourist chiefs admitted yesterday they were in a race against time to refill eroded beaches with dredged sand in time for Easter week when the weather is expected to be a mixed bag of sunshine some days and rain others.
But many beach bar owners are openly admitting their Easter hopes have already been ruined following the new damage done on the back of storms over recent weeks which had already left resorts with repair bills running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Debris including upturned deck chairs and sun loungers by the shoreline and beach showers yanked out of their stands litter the beach in the upmarket Costa del Sol resort of Marbella.
Miguel Muncharaz, manager at iconic Marbella beach bar and restaurant Trocadero Playa, admitted: “This last storm has devastated this place. Only the structure is left.
“It’s a disaster. There’s no way we’ll be able to get everything back to the way it was before Easter.”
British tourist Dave Prentice, who owns a holiday home in Villajoyosa near Benidorm where at least four beaches have been badly damaged by the force of the waves, said: “I’ve been coming here for years and this is the worst I have seen the coastline at this time of the year.”
“I was hoping to go back home with a tan but since I got here last week all I’ve seen is rain and more rain.”
The head of the Costa del Sol Tourist board Francisco Salado has called for the Malaga coast to be declared a disaster zone because of the damage caused by recent strong winds and sea swells.
Tourism chiefs in the area are hoping to put the coronavirus pandemic behind them this year and see foreign holidaymakers returning in the sorts of numbers they were getting pre-Covid.
Mr Salado said: “The beaches are our biggest tourist attraction and we rely on them being in good condition.”
Estepona’s mayor Jose Maria Garcia Urbano said long-term measures to protect the coastline were needed, “Replacing the sand is a medicine whose effects last a few weeks and sometimes just a few days,” he said in an open letter.”
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