The Government announced today that anyone returning to Spain after midnight tonight will be asked to quarantine for 14 days. The changes come after Spain was removed from the “air bridge” list that includes countries such as France and Italy that Britons can travel to and avoid quarantine rules on their return. The UK’s move to reimpose 14 days of quarantine for all British holidaymakers returning from Spain has been slammed as a sledgehammer blow by tourism leaders in Benidorm and the rest of Valencia.
HOSBEC, the hotel association for the region has reacted following this evening’s devastating news.
In fact, the move has been labelled “a jug of ice water” by business leaders.
In a statement, HOSBEC says: “It is a blow, we had good feelings for the next few weeks, with reservations that were growing and although they were far from what would be normal at this time of year, we expected them to normalise facing the month of September and October.
“Many hotels in the city of Benidorm, in which British tourism is the main international market with a 40 percent share of the total, were scheduled to open in the coming days, precisely in this growth trend of British tourists.
Spain holidays: Benidorm labels UK’s quarantine decision as a huge ‘blow’ for tourism
Spain holidays: The changes come after Spain was removed from the “air bridge” list
“From HOSBEC it is observed with disbelief how the extraordinary effort made by all of society and the entire Spanish economy has been thrown overboard in just one month, once again catching the political and health authorities with its foot changed and without reacting in time to prevent the situation from spiralling out of control again.
“The decision of the British Government joins the one that was expressed yesterday by countries that are also very important for Spanish and Valencian tourism in particular, such as France (not advising to travel through Catalonia, an obligatory step for arrival in the Valencian Community), Belgium or Norway that it has also imposed mandatory quarantine.
“Tourism businessmen ask for urgent and effective measures to control infections and if it is necessary to help a specific sector to keep it inactive, it is preferable to find ourselves facing a new general confinement and another state of alarm.”
HOSBEC added it will be keeping an eye on the situation when it comes to promotions and hotels opening.
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It continued: “The sector will begin to re-evaluate from today the situation that has occurred adjusting all the promotion strategies that were being launched and that had the United Kingdom as one of its main investments.
“Likewise, adjustments will almost certainly take place both in the opening of hotels and in the air operations scheduled for the entire month of August.
“But we are sure that the damage to tourism will be, once again, very serious.”
From July 26, the FCO has advised against all non-essential travel to mainland Spain based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.
Spain holidays: The FCO is not advising those travelling in Spain to leave at this time
It said: “Only the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa) and Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera) are exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel.”
The advice is based on evidence of increases in the cases of coronavirus in several regions, but particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia (which includes the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona).
The FCO is not advising those travelling in Spain to leave at this time.
It added: “Travellers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect themselves and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus.
International travel post-lockdown
“If you are returning from Spain (including from the Balearics and Canaries) on or after July 26 you will be required to quarantine on your return to the UK, but the FCO is not advising you to cut short your visit.
“You should contact your tour operator or airline if you have any questions about your return journey.
“PHE are continuing to monitor the situation in the Balearic and Canary Islands closely.
“Travellers there should continue to check this advice regularly.”
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.