17 Sep, 2020 @ 12:35
1 min read

Benidorm wants UK government permission for a special flight to Spain’s Costa Blanca in plea to create safe ‘travel bubble’

Benidorm has a COVID-19 infection rate that's three times higher than Spain's national average

BENIDORM wants the UK government to green-light a charter flight to help promote the Costa Blanca resort as a safe area for British tourists.

The ‘Visit Benidorm’ foundation, supported by local and regional politicians, has made the request as part of their campaign to establish an air corridor between the UK and Alicante-Elche airport.

The Benidorm travel bubble idea would have to get national Spanish government backing who would then use diplomatic and other channels to see if London would listen to the request.

The initiative has been branded as ‘Benidorm Island’ and is aimed at overturning the mandatory 14-day quarantine imposed in late July on travellers returning to Britain from Spain.

The proposed charter flight would accommodate journalists, travel agents, and ‘special guests’.

They would be taken to Benidorm to see first-hand the measures taken in the resort to make it as safe as possible for tourists during the coronavirus pandemic.

The plans are being backed by travel operator Jet2.

Visit Benidorm manager, Leire Bilbao, said: “We have branded our campaign as ‘Benidorm Island because we want to promote the area as a safe bubble island for visitors.”

“British tourists treat Benidorm very much as an island and rarely travel outside the municipality when they get there.”

The ‘Benidorm Island’ plans include a guarantee of coronavirus testing for people arriving and departing from Alicante-Elche airport, in addition to strict safety protocols at the facility.

Special teams will monitor tourists during their stay and even do follow-ups when visitors return to the UK.

A hotel has already been designated for anybody that presents COVID-19 symptoms.

Any COVID-related health treatment would be subsidised by the regional government in a similar way to their counterparts in the Canary Islands.

The plan wants to salvage UK visitor numbers to the Benidorm area over the winter period.

Nuria Montes from the hotel association Hosbec said: “The short-term aim is get 10,000 people from Britain flying in every week to save the winter season and to give us a platform for the spring.”

It’s unclear how the scheme could work in practical terms as UK travellers arriving at Alicante-Elche airport move on to a variety of locations on the Costa Blanca and beyond.

There has been no recent indication of any imminent UK government relaxation on quarantine restrictions on arrivals back from Spain and specifically areas like the Canary Islands.

Alex Trelinski

Alex worked for 30 years for the BBC as a presenter, producer and manager. He covered a variety of areas specialising in sport, news and politics. After moving to the Costa Blanca over a decade ago, he edited a newspaper for 5 years and worked on local radio.

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