THE COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on Costa Blanca hotels in July with an average occupancy rate of just 45 per cent compared to 89.6 per cent a year earlier.

Figures from the Alicante Province Hotels Association(APHA) showed the full extent of the problem facing local hoteliers, as the traditionally quiet month of January recorded a much higher occupancy rate of 56 per cent.

APHA have admitted that some of its members chose not to open up last month, and are staying closed during August.

Factors like the UK 14-day quarantine and concerns over a regional rise in COVID-19 cases are coming into play, according to APHA.

International reservations made before July were also down due to uncertainty over when travel restrictions would be eased in Spain.

Occupancy rates have seen some major regional variations with Elche almost reaching 61 per cent and San Juan de Alicante clocking up over 50 per cent.

Much lower were places like Alicante City at just under 44 per cent of occupancy, with Villajoyosa and El Campello at 45 per cent.

National figures have shown that two-thirds of July’s tourism was domestically-based, with the largest number of foreign visitors coming from the United Kingdom and France.

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