80% of the hotels on the Costa Blanca will be open the first weekend of August, and the British are the key to filling the places.
The risk that the UK Government will approve a new quarantine period for travellers entering the country threatens to put a halt to the recovery of the still slow hotel occupancy levels that are being experienced by hotels in the UK.
It is also unwelcome news for the Costa Blanca, which experts were predicting would see a likely recovery to the tourist sector during the months of August and September.
However, the possibility of the quarantine, announced by the British government, has once again turned on all the alarms, just when the sector was showing the signs of a better future after four months of closure.
At the moment, hotels are reasonably busy during weekends thanks to last-minute bookings, but the key to an August recovery is the arrival of tourists from the United Kingdom, especially for the town of Benidorm.
The president of Hosbec, the hotel association of the Costa Blanca, Toni Mayor, has changed his traditional optimism after acknowledging the pace that the outbreaks of the coronavirus have taken in Spain, although the situation in the province of Alicante is still well under control, but which could so easily be undone when the tourism sector prepares for August, a key month, and the most important of the year.
The threat from the United Kingdom to re-establish quarantine for travellers returning from Spain has become a new problem because, according to Mayor, TUI, the second largest tour operator on the Costa Blanca, after Jet2.com, has already announced that, if it occurs, it will cancel all its holidays.
Mayor recently attended, along with the Autonomous Secretary of Tourism, Francesc Colomer, and José María Martín, head of the tourism at Banco Sabadell, in a debate on online tourism news organised by the Chamber of Commerce and moderated by its president Juan Riera.
The president of Hosbec demanded discipline, “because in our hotels everything is under perfect controlled and the residents are complying with the regulations without any problem.” However, he added that “we are very concerned because we have gone from a situation where, in late June, everything was under control, to the situation where Spain is the country in Europe with the most cases of contagion.”
If the United Kingdom re-quarantines, the consequences would be fatal. “Right now it is very difficult to make any forecasts, the situation is very complex and difficult and it is essential that the ERTE can be extended until Easter 2021, which is when we think that the situation may return to normal, hoping, of course, that we have a the vaccine to deal with the virus as soon as possible, “said Toni Mayor.
July is going to close with an average occupancy of around 40%, but there have also been some hotels with occupancy of one hundred percent on weekends. Last minute reservations are working very well, particularly by people in the province itself and from Murcia and Albacete.
Although holidays organised by Tour Operators continue to suffer, in the last ten days the market has been boosted by arrivals from the UK, especially families that are making their reservations direct.
The Costa Blanca tourist association says that it plans a new wave of hotel openings for the first weekend of August, when In total, about 280 hotels will be open with some 55,000 beds, with a forecast of an average occupancy of 65% / 70%, at the end of the month.
But the Costa Blanca remains the dream tourist destination for millions of Europeans, those who stay in hotels, in apartments, and for the 325,000 who have their second, or first, residence on the coast or in the interior of the province. And that will continue to be whether or not there is a risk of covid-19.