A RECENT report in UK newspaper The Sun said that British tourists are not welcome in Spain until the coronavirus outbreak is over.
A YouGov poll of 1,000 people across all of Europe. It found that nearly two thirds (61%) of Spaniards wanted a ban on UK tourists entering the country.
The Olive Press decided to investigate further, and sent our reporters out to discover what Spaniards on the Costas really think.
Without exception every single one we spoke to would welcome Brits back with open arms – as long as visitors take care and stick to the coronavirus rules.
Maria Paredes runs a consultancy and real estate business in Los Montesinos was surprised by the YouGov poll. She said: “I don´t know of any Spanish people who would not want UK visitors. We are a very welcoming country and anybody that comes here is good for our economy.”
Anna Boj, who owns a herbal and health food store in Los Montesinos agreed, saying: ““Of course we have to have to be careful with the health situation but I need British customers to come and spend money with me. I’ve not heard anybody say that British tourists should not be allowed to come to Spain.”
It was a theme supported by Luis Garcia, who runs the award-winning La Posada restaurant and pizzeria in Los Montesinos. He said: “Bars and restaurants need our regular customers from Britain and other countries at this time of the year. We want as many of them to return as soon as possible to help us get through the crisis.”
Kike Pelao, manager at The Yellow Rose of Texas in Benimar was also welcoming – providing precautions are taken, saying: “I don’t care if the British come, as long as the appropriate measures have been taken in the country of departure and arrival.”
Lorena Wilson, a partner at Olivia Real Estate in Los Montesinos agreed. She said: “Safety comes first, but also Spain can’t afford not to have tourists.
“I agree with starting to get back to normal slowly and gradually to help the economy move, but the government should control the number of tourists coming into the country and everyone should follow our guidelines.
“My job will be there in a few months but some lives might not.”
Her safety concerns were echoed by Juanlu Mena, 40, who works at La Villa Marbella, the city’s number one hotel on TripAdvisor.
He told the Olive Press: “I’m definitely for tourists coming but I hope they follow the rules.
“I have seen some parties with a lot of people not wearing masks, but that’s everyone, including Spanish people. Everyone needs to follow the rules.”
Estepona-based waiter Miguel Trujillo, 31, was also up for tourists coming back, as long as they ‘follow the rules’.
He said: “I’m not against British tourists coming but they should be tested at the airport before.
“Otherwise it’s like ‘back to Phase 0’. We need you guys coming here. In Andalucia we don’t have factories like in the north of Spain.”
A Spanish teacher from Estepona added: “I am not against tourists per se but I think tourism has returned too early in Spain.
“I also think that in Andalucia the government could pursue other sectors, tourism is seasonable and not sustainable.”