Spain warning: Benidorm in crisis as around 200 shops close – ‘Only 50% will survive’

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Spain has been struck hard by the coronavirus pandemic with one of the worst infection rates in Europe. The country’s infection rate has soared above 1.1 million in recent weeks, leading many regions to enforce strict rules. This week, the country declared a national state of emergency imposing curfews at night to halt the spread of coronavirus.

The new measures have meant that local authorities now have the power to ban travel between regions.

The country was hit hard during the first wave of COVID-19 and implemented one of the toughest lockdowns on the planet.

Spain was removed from the UK’s travel corridor list earlier this summer in a move that devastated Britons who were hoping escape the UK for a few weeks.

Since then, tourists in some of the country’s popular regions have dried up.

Benidorm, on the eastern coast in the region of Valencia, is one the towns that has suffered most.

According to the Independent Association of Benidorm (AICO), around half of Benidorm’s shops will close over the next few months.

The group also told Olive Press that around 200 retailers in Benidorm have ceased trading this month either temporarily or permanently.

Part of the reason for this is a lack of tourists caused by international travel restrictions.

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AICO President Raul Parra warned that the situation in Spain could get worse “if travel restrictions are put into place between Spanish regions”.

One part of the town which is known for its English tourists has been hit the hardest with shop closures.

Mr Parra added: “I believe that over the coming months only about 50 percent of shops will stay afloat.”

Hoteliers in Benidorm and on the Costa Blanca have also admitted to having similar concerns after the country announced its State of Alarm.

Benidorm has already reported an 80 percent drop in hotel overnight stays between July and September compared to 2019.

And now, the hotels are concerned that Spain’s State of Alarm will only further deter people from wanting to visit.

General secretary of the Hosbec association Nuria Montes told Olive Press that it’s “hardly the best message to send out to tourists across Europe”.

The State of Alarm is set to remain in force until early May 2021, according to Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez.

President of the Servigroup hotel chain Jose Maria Caballe understood that the government had to make these changes to fight coronavirus but that the government shouldn’t be making changes “minute-by-minute”.

He added: “Tourism and hoteliers are suffering badly and I don’t know how this is all going to end.”

Spain’s tourism industry was felt the impact of COVID-19 over the summer when just 204,926 international visitors arrived in Spain in June.

This is a drop of 97.7 percent, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE).

The tourism sector reportedly lost 27.3 million visitors and €28.4 billion in revenue during the first half of 2020, compared with last year.

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