THE coronavirus pandemic caused Costa Blanca hotels to suffer their worst-ever year with a 75% collapse in occupancy rates in 2020.

The figures were compiled by the National Institute of Statistics(INE).

The news comes as the sector is hit by a fresh blow of weekend perimeter closures starting this Friday(January 29) in major centres like Benidorm and Alicante.

The Benidorm-based hotel association, Hosbec, has called on Valencian President, Ximo Puig, to allow tourists with prior reservations to be able to maintain their bookings.

Hosbec general secretary, Nuria Montes, says their members have been hit by a ‘wave of cancellations.’

“There is a complete contradiction here as hotels have been told that they are safe and can remain open, but now Benidorm is closed at the weekend,” she commented.

“A Mutxamel resident can travel to Morella on Friday afternoon, but nobody from Alicante or Valencia can go to Benidorm,” Montes reflected.

The weekend curfew applies to all cities of 50,000 people and over in the Valencian Community.

Perimeter closures apply from 3.00 pm on Friday through to Monday at 6.00 am.

The Servigroup Diplomatic Hotel in Benidorm has been open all winter.

Group president, Jose Maria Caballe, asked:”Would it really have been that difficult to delay the closure start from 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm to allow the very few remaining clients from the Valencian Community to reach hotels? I do not understand it.”

The 2020 occupancy details from the INE come as no surprise due to restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The INE survey confirmed that the only significant activity in hotels was during the summer in July and August.

Hosbec say that Benidorm has been the worst-affected Costa Blanca municipality with 81.5% of hotel trade disappearing last year, compared to the 2019 figures.

That translates to 11 million overnight stays in 2019, as opposed to just 2 million last year.

But for domestic tourism, it would have been worse, as international visitors fell by 85%.

Hosbec added that 42% of regional hotels have not reopened their doors since the first State of Alarm started on March 15, 2020.

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