BENIDORM mayor, Toni Pérez, says that the resort wants to set up a ‘safe travel corridor’ for UK tourists.
That follows a summer where many British visitors stayed away because of COVID-19 concerns and quarantine restrictions introduced in late July.
Toni Pérez observed: “Not a single coronavirus case has been recorded over the summer in Benidorm involving international visitors.”
How the Benidorm plan would work is unclear, especially as the issue of international travel and quarantines is controlled by national governments in Madrid and London.
Pérez’s announcement came in the same week that Valencian Health Minister, Ana Barcelo, warned that Benidorm and 12 other Costa Blanca towns needed to do much more to reduce new COVID-19 cases.
Figures show that Benidorm has recorded 97 COVID-19 cases in the last fortnight.
The local council has now joined forces with tourist group ‘Visit Benidorm’ and other bodies, including a tour operator, to launch their corridor plan.
The corridor would be based on tourists coming in via Alicante-Elche airport, but its hard to see how the idea will progress any further.
At Westminster this week, the UK Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, announced a more flexible approach to travel corridors involving tourists returning home to England from certain islands.
He ruled out an immediate change for the Canary and Balearic Islands due to high COVID-19 case levels, which are significantly lower than the numbers across the Costa Blanca.
Mayor Pérez nevertheless is pushing ahead with the Benidorm corridor idea:
“The British market is vital to Benidorm and UK tourists and expats have told us that they feel safer here than back home.”
He also attacked the Madrid government for ‘prioritising’ the Canary and Balearic Islands to the detriment of mainland tourist areas like the Costa Blanca.