VALENCIAN president, Ximo Puig, will visit Madrid this Monday(May 24) to appeal for British tourists to be allowed to visit the Costa Blanca without the need for quarantines and COVID tests when they return home.

Puig will meet the UK Ambassador, Hugh Elliott, on the same day that Spain lifts restrictions for non-essential travel from the UK, with no requirement for a positive PCR test.

Spain has so far not been included on any UK ‘Green’ travel lists, unlike neighbouring Gibraltar and Portugal.

The ‘Amber’ status of the country means that the British government is discouraging holiday travel to Spain, with no change likely before the end of June.

Puig’s Madrid trip is in response to regional hospitality associations angrily criticising him for not doing enough to lobby UK officials over the very different health situation in the Valencia region, compared to the rest of Spain.

National infection rate averages are around 140 cases per 100,000 people and have shown a significant fall from being above 200 cases over a week ago.

Nevertheless, UK authorities are looking at around 50 cases as a standard to get on the ‘Green’ list.

The Valencian Community is below 30 cases, and Alicante Province, including the Costa Blanca, is even lower at under 25 cases, making it the lowest in mainland Europe for COVID infections.

Puig will tell Hugh Elliott that the region should be treated differently from the rest of Spain.

He will argue that people coming to the Costa Blanca for a holiday don’t travel across Spain to areas like Madrid or the Basque Country that have high infection rates.

It’s a long shot though for Puig as the UK nations are highly unlikely to be looking at splitting whole countries for travel purposes.

The British market is vital for regional tourism with UK arrivals accounting for close of a third of all foreign visitors to the Valencian Community.

That figure leaps up 40% for the Costa Blanca and resorts like Benidorm.

Regional hotel associations claim to have lost €1 billion since the start of the pandemic and that only 16% of their workforce are currently working.

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