COSTA Blanca hotel owners fear that the local tourist industry may not fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic until 2023.
The warning has come from the Benidorm-based Hosbec association.
President, Toni Mayor, said: “2020 could not have been any worse for us, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel with vaccinations.”
Hosbec is forecasting that visitor levels seen in 2019 will not return until 2023.
“We don’t see any kind of recovery starting before next summer and the scenario is that it will take a couple of years to get back what we had last year,” added Mayor.
Today(December 26) is traditionally the biggest date of the year for online summer holiday bookings in the United Kingdom, but Mayor does not expect much this year.
“A combination of new coronavirus strains and Brexit have buried hopes of early bookings for 2021,” he observed.
“Everything that has happened has confirmed the worst case scenario that we had at the beginning of the pandemic crisis.”
Hosbec has called for furlough ERTE payments to be extended indefinitely for hospitality industry workers but with a flexibility to wind them up quickly if business picks up.
Toni Mayor warned: “We are experiencing the worst recession of all time and if businesses end up getting financial aid arriving down the line in 2022, it will be too late as they will have folded.”