Spain announce travel ban for UK flights amid coronavirus strain
New figures released by the National Statistics Institute (INE) show that Spain’s tourism industry is struggling vastly due to a loss of British visitors. Spain is usually a hotspot for Britons, with 18.01 million UK tourists visiting the nation in 2019 prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, amid an onslaught of travel and quarantine restrictions, Spain’s tourism traffic fell dramatically, with many restaurants and hotels forced to close their doors in prime hotspots including Benidorm and Magaluf.
The Balearic Islands, in particular, have reported a dramatic 93 percent drop in traffic since 2019.
In 2020, the sunshine destination saw just 223,000 travellers from the UK compared with 3.7 million in 2019. This is a fall of 93 percent.
Numbers reportedly began to plummet from mid-July, when the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) began to advise against all but “essential” travel to the nation.
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Mauricio Carballeda, the president of the Palmanova-Magaluf Hoteliers Association in the Balearic Islands told Spanish newspaper El Pais the 14-day quarantine has served a “deathblow” to the tourist sector.
“The quarantine was a deathblow,” he told El Pais.
“Instead of holding on a little longer, hotels had to gradually close because the impact of the fall in British tourists was devastating.”
In the Canary Islands, the number of international tourists dropped to 71 percent.
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However, the region was saved by its high season being situated in the winter months.
This meant it was still able to have a largely successful winter season throughout January and February in 2020 before the pandemic took a hold of the world.
Despite this, the number of UK arrivals saw a drop of 88 percent, from 2.5 million visitors in 2019 to approximately 309,000 in 2020.
Across the nation, hotel occupancy fell to between 30 and 40 percent during the summer months, a vast difference from the usual 90 percent occupancy.
In usually popular Benidorm, hoteliers report tourist activity dropping 81.5 percent compared to 2019.
The number of international travellers fell by 85 percent and overnight stays by 86.2 percent and of the hotels which did open, occupancy was only 33.4 percent, compared to 84.2 percent.
Hotel group Hosbec has called for urgent support to protect the sector.
“Although it has fought hard to resist and survive this uncertain year, the tourist destination of Benidorm has been one of the hardest hit in the Valencian community,” stated Hosbec in a new report on the impact of coronavirus.
“In order to stimulate demand, destinations such as Elche, Alicante, Valencia, Peñíscola, Castellón de la Plana or Benidorm have lowered their average prices to record differences of 35 euros compared to the previous year,” says Hosbec.
According to their latest figures, only half of Benidorm’s hotels managed to open at all in 2020 and the average number of active employees during 2020 was 2,391.
This is a drop of 56.8 percent in active employment.
It is not yet known when, or if, holidaymakers will be able to return to Spain in 2021.
At the time of writing, the FCDO continues to advise against “all but essential travel” to Spain.
Furthermore, holidays are off the cards under the current UK-wide lockdown.
Spain is also denying entry from British travellers, “with the exception of Spanish nationals and those legally resident in Spain.”
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