Benidorm planning to lure thousands of Brits back this winter with massive Covid testing scheme and health checks
BENIDORM is looking to draw thousands of Brits back to the resort with an ambitious plan using Covid-19 tests and health monitoring.
Authorities are confident the ‘Benidorm Island’ scheme will convince the British government to allow Brtis to visit the winter sunshine getaway without compulsory Covid-19 quarantine when they return.
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The proposal has been created specifically for British tourists, whoaccount for ovewr half of the holidaymakers who flock to Benidorm and the region each year.
The campaign was launched on Wednesday as Spain’s Tourism Minister Maria Reyes Maroto confirmed the Canary Islands would have quick Covid-19 tests in place “in the short-term”.
It comed as part of the country’s efforts to set up "safe" air corridors with the likes of the UK.
Under the "Bubble Island" scheme British tourists would be tested for Covid-19 when they touch down at Alicante-Elche airport before being offered ‘safe’ coach transfers to their holiday accommodation in Benidorm.
They would remain within its boundaries for the duration of their stay.
A so-called ‘Hospitality Team’ would monitor the tourists’ health from day one of their stay but also in the 14 days after they return home following new Covid-19 tests before they fly back to the UK.
The project is being backed by local hotel association Hosbec, which warned at earlier this month that less than 15 of Benidorm’s 140 hotels could remain open by the end of September.
Officials in Benidorm are expected to seek permission from the Spanish and British governments to trial the scheme with 500 people.
The plan is part of efforts to get the go-ahead to welcome back around 10,000 UK tourists a week.
Speaking at the official presentation of the Benidorm Island project, Mayor Toni Perez said: “The aim of Benidorm Island is to show that Benidorm is operating like an island for the British market, with tourists staying within its municipal boundaries once they reach the town.
“Benidorm has similar Covid-19 contagion rates to the Canary Islands so any measures agreed or designed for that region can also be directly applied to Benidorm.”
Spain’s current isolation rules
FOREIGN OFFICE ADVICE:
- Don't travel to mainland Spain unless essential
- Travel to Spain's islands is allowed
14 DAY QUARANTINE
- Everyone coming back from Spain OR the Spanish islands must quarantine for 14 days at home
- They must self isolate and give an address of where they are staying, or they face a £1000 fine
He added: “Benidorm has to form part of this tourist strategy because it is the only ‘island’ that operates for the British market during winter in mainland Spain.
“But our belief is that this pilot scheme can be replaced or adapted for the rest of the Costa Blanca.”
In the run-up to the summer Benidorm Town Hall presented a pioneering beach safety plan that involved the marking-out of 5,000 13ftx13ft squares on its main urban beaches to ensure social distancing.
Tourists were then asked to make beach reservations to guarantee their spot on the sand during the peak season.
Mr Perez reacted to the UK’s decision in late July to make British holidaymakers returning from Spain quarantine, admitting: “We very much regret it.
"In Benidorm we’ve worked a lot to minimise the risks and we haven’t got any problems here at the moment."
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