We’ve all got our heads in our hands as the situation for tourism in Spain this summer goes from bad to worse. This morning’s reports are making me glad it’s time for an uplifting aperitivo…
I’ve been reading that some hotels in Benidorm are starting to close – and some of those only opened a few days ago – as most of the thousands of British holidaymakers they were expecting will no longer be arriving following the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice against all but essential travel to Spain. Some hotels in the Balearic Islands are planning to close in the next fortnight too. But what else can they do if they have no guests? Those who do manage to get to the islands, maybe later in August if restrictions are lifted, might well find they cannot stay in their chosen accommodation as the major hotel groups are going to shift people to the limited number of places kept open. Let’s hope they’re upgraded at least.
While nearly two thirds of new coronavirus cases are in the regions of Aragón and Catalonia in the north east of the country, there are smaller outbreaks in many parts of Spain. Most are not in particularly touristy areas, however. Rates are very low in the Canary Islands and also in the Balearics – although it is worrying that a handful of new cases have emerged in the resorts of Peguera and Santanyí in Mallorca.
Tui has today announced that all holidays to mainland Spain are now cancelled until August 17th and to the Balearics and Canaries until August 10th. Reyes Maroto, the Spanish tourism minister, is pinning her hopes on the UK government’s next review of the quarantine policy, within the next couple of weeks, but it’s not looking promising, frankly.
Javier Piñanes, director of the Spanish Tourist Office in the UK, has today commented on the latest coronavirus statistics in Spain:
“Outbreaks in Spain are highly localised and our regions are taking swift, decisive and forceful control measures. The outbreaks are mainly concentrated in two autonomous communities (Aragon and Catalonia) that accumulate approximately 60% of the total cases.
In the last seven days, ten people have sadly died across the whole of Spain due to Coronavirus however most holiday destinations have not reported any recent deaths and have low incident rates. Likewise, the increase in cases in Spain is not resulting in a significant rise in hospitalisations. In the last week, there have been 25 ICU admissions across the whole country.
Looking specifically at the infection rate over the last seven days (data recorded 30 July 2020), many of Spain’s regions report figures well below accumulated rates in other European countries where travel bans have not been imposed. For example, the rate of accumulated cases in the Canary Islands is just 2.4 per 100,000 people and in the Balearic Islands it is 11.3.
Work is being carried out between the Spanish and British authorities so that decisions are made or adjusted based exclusively on epidemiological criteria. There are many popular destinations in Spain visited by British tourists, (such as Andalucía, which includes Costa del Sol, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, the region of Valencia and many of Spain’s northern regions such as Asturias, Galicia and Cantabria) which have infection rates similar or below those reported in the United Kingdom.
Our tourism industry is well prepared to receive visitors and a number of measures have been implemented so that tourism can continue in the most safe, secure and hygienic manner. The sector has made a huge effort to adapt over recent weeks and has managed to implement effective measures to guarantee safety.”