THOUSANDS of hotels and restaurants across Spain have reopened in a major boost for the economy.
Some 12% of the country’s GDP comes from tourism, rising to 14% in Andalucia.
Finally, dozens of UK flights are landing at Malaga Airport, with more than 100 international arrivals each day.
Hotels, which have been among the worst affected businesses in Spain, have been offering deals to entice tourists back.
The Parador chain, famous for its historic hotels, has seen a big success in its three nights for the price of two deal it launched, with rooms starting at €65 a night.
For the Marriot group, members of its Bonvoy group are getting a 25% discount in tariffs.
Meanwhile the Iberostar chain is offering free accommodation to children of 12 and under.
On the Costa del Sol the five star Padierna Palace is offering a 25% discount on any stays of over three nights.
However, a number of tourists and locals have noticed prices creeping up in other areas, as landlords and restaurateurs try to claw back cash lost during the crisis.
They have also spotted a few strange ‘Covid charges’, despite this being dubbed illegal by Spanish consumer rights group FACUA.
One bar in Tenerife got singled out on Twitter for charging a so-called ‘servicio Covid’ at €1 per table.
The owner justified the cost by the amount of extra money he had to spend on gloves, masks and cleaning products.
A trendy bar in upmarket Sotogrande, near Gibraltar, has also raised its prices a little.
A barmaid at Ke-Bar admitted ‘drinks are up very slightly’, but insisted the food prices have not changed.
“I was still a little shocked to have to pay €5 a pint,” English tourist Jack Burgess, 21 told the Olive Press. “But at least all the staff were friendly and working harder than normal.”
Meanwhile, a nightclub in Marbella has managed to reopen, but only for food and cocktails officially.
The expensive disco is insisting that all punters have to put a sticker over their mobile phones so they can’t take any pictures of anyone dancing on the dance floor, which is unofficially being allowed.
“They also don’t want anyone getting evidence of punters getting too close and flirting,” said one party-goer.
In Costa Blanca south, around the Torrevieja area the bars are about 50% empty and there is no sign of prices going up.
“The prices have gone down and all the bars and restaurants I have visited the staff have been super-efficient and really pleased to see us Brits,” said Alex Tremain, 55, from Manchester.
“I paid just €12 for a fantastic turbot in a Santa Pola restaurant the other night and it was just €7 for a gin and tonic,” he added.
In Mallorca, if anything, prices seem to be the same if not down.
“People have actually been nicer than ever before,” said English tourist Zara Adams, 26. “We were offered some free drinks on a night out and we got ‘buy one, get one free’ for mojitos, in Santa Catalina, Palma.
“The price is normally €11 each, but we only had to pay €5.50…they were so happy just to see tourists and Brits out again.
“That never happens in Mallorca.
“The day before we got a half price paella in Can n ‘Eduardo, in Palma. It’s normally an expensive place.
“They said thanks at the end of the meal and presented us with a new bill, saying please come back again. It was a lovely surprise. It is normally €36, we only paid €18.”
Beach protocol has been a key talking point with many town halls restricting access after a certain density.
Some towns have been flying drones and are ensuring that beach goers stay over a metre apart.
On Casares beach, near Estepona, the Town Hall is regularly warning tourists over tannoy, ‘not to stay longer than four hours’.
Beaches in the town centre have even dispatched a drone lifeguard, which can dispense life jackets to swimmers in trouble.
Benidorm has introduced a series of segregated areas for beach-goers to visit, including designated parts for people aged 70 and over.
It has gone a lot further than other parts of the region in creating plots on the beaches at Poniente and Levante, within 20 overall sections.
A maximum of 12 sections are opened up at one time and each plot of 16 square metres is large enough to accommodate four people.
The beaches will be open for 12 hours from 9:00am and there is the ability to split the day into two shifts if numbers start to rise as expected from this month.
Indeed from July 1, a reservation system for plots has been set up via the town hall website.