Spain holidays: Devastation for hotels as ‘unthinkable’ Easter sparks concern for summer

Spain: Coronavirus threat from tourists discussed by expert

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Spanish hotelier association Hosbec has reported an “unthinkable” Easter season after capacity at hotels plummeted over the usually busy period. In the Costa Blanca, of the 30 percent of hotels that opened their doors, just 67 percent of rooms were occupied.

Though the figures were higher than the year previous, when the initial State of Alarm was imposed in the early days of the pandemic, hoteliers are now calling on the Spanish government for a fresh support package.

A Hosbec spokesperson said: “These figures would have been unthinkable a few months ago and especially for this time of the year.

“Restrictions including the border closure is continuing to have a serious impact on all tourist-related activities.”

The regional hotel sector has since demanded a €300million support package from the Valencian government.

According to Hosbec, between April 1 and April 5, 90 percent of rooms were occupied by people from within the Valencia region due to the border closure.

In contrast to its usually high international tourist intake, just four percent of rooms were taken by foreign travellers.

On the Costa Blanca, occupancy was 67.1 percent, with only 16 hotels opening their doors.

In Valencia city, 11 hotels were open with 30 percent occupancy.

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A quarter of visitors came from outside of Spain.

Further north, in Benidorm, only 14 hotels opened their doors for the long weekend.

The 14 hotels represented just 12 percent of Benidorm’s total and virtually all of the rooms, at 96 percent, were occupied by national travellers from the Valencia community due to the perimeter closures.

A spokesperson for the hotel association, Hosbec said they had previously challenged the decision to maintain perimeter closures for Easter and claimed it was “an example of the failure of the management of the virus after 12 months of the pandemic.”

They added: “Mobility linked to tourism is not a risk factor and it is essential to plan the reactivation of the sector with effective control systems.”

Hosbec president, Toni Mayor said: “At the moment, the hotel and tourist accommodation industry is one of the few areas of activity that is almost completely paralysed by the effects of COVID-19.

“While other sectors have been able to open their doors and start working, even partially, 40 percent of the hotel plant has been closed tightly for 12 months, although the losses began to be generated much earlier with the multiple cancellations of reservations, events etc that were happening since January 2020, before the state of alarm.

“The time for action has come because if we do not do so, the consequences will be irreparable.

“Furthermore, the outlook is not very favourable for the next few weeks and even months, with vaccination at a frustratingly slow pace and with a threat fourth wave of infections that will have little to do with tourist activity but will condemn us to keep companies closed.”

At the time of writing, Britons are not able to visit Spain for a holiday.

Though May 17 is still on the table for international travel to resume at some capacity, it is not yet clear whether or not Spain will be on the “green” list of destinations Britons are allowed to visit.

On the topic of reopening overseas travel, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters: “A lot of the destinations that we want to go to at the moment are suffering a new wave of the illness, of COVID, as we know. We can’t do it immediately.

“But that doesn’t mean that we’ve given up on May 17.”

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.

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