TOURIST INCOME has collapsed by 70 per cent across the Costa Blanca and Valencian Community during the first nine months of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The regional government estimates that €11.4 billion has been lost so far this year from the region’s economy.

€9.2 billion of that figure is from the Costa Blanca and Alicante Province area.

Around a third of the region’s annual Gross Domestic Product is generated by tourism.

The figures were released as a voucher scheme came online today(October 20)for local residents to get a discounted break within the Community to boost the ailing travel industry.

Meanwhile, a Costa Blanca hotel association has warned that half of the European travel industry ‘will be bankrupt’ by the springtime if travel quarantines are not replaced by better coronavirus testing.

Benidorm-based Hosbec again called for travel corridors which it says would be a ‘lifeline’ for its struggling members, and that other parts of the world are well ahead in introducing them.

In a statement, the group attacked the lack of action across Spain and the European Union in creating the corridors.

Hosbec said: ·After eight months of the pandemic, businesses want better compliance with safety rules including major investments in ‘track and trace’ systems as well as tougher penalties for people who flout measures like mask wearing and social distancing.”

The association’s argument is that a combination of the air corridors with better virus tracing should allow the travel industry to regain some of its lost customers.

Hosbec added: “We know that tourist activity is vital to the Valencian Community economy, but it is being forced to closer while shops, schools and universities remain open.”

The group said there was no obvious evidence that holidaymakers arriving by air were spreading COVID-19.

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