British tourists have returned to Benidorm – and have gotten the resort practically to themselves.
Julie Balai, 61, was one of the first to arrive after boarding the Alicante airport flight from Leeds-Bradford starting at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
Sitting in a bar along the deserted beachfront while enjoying a beer in the sun, she says MailOnline: “The beach is empty and all of the English tape is closed, so we think we have Benidorm in ourselves. ‘
Meanwhile, the bar owners in the Costa Blanca resort urged other visitors to join them, admitting, “Without the British, we would be dead.”
Julie Balai, 61 (center), Sylvia Riley, 60 (left), and Andrea Harrison, 59 (right), boarded a Ryanair flight to Benidorm at 9 a.m. on Sunday – the day of reopening borders – and say they had the seaside resort “for them”
Michael Golden, 69, from Birmingham (left), saw two flights to Benidorm canceled before he was able to board a Sunday saying he wanted to go to Spain as soon as possible, because that all pubs in the UK are closed
Julie and friends Sylvia Riley, 60, and Andrea Harrison, 59 – all NHS nurses from Wakefield – said they booked their vacation from five months ago, as the coronavirus was starting to get big titles, but before locking.
The trio were waiting for their Ryanair flight to be canceled, but when the airline said it would go ahead, they decided to go ahead with the trip.
“We are NHS nurses so we tested for coronavirus every two weeks, we are not playing with death. We just wanted to go out, and we liked it a lot, she says.
She revealed that there were only 80 people on her flight and Alicante airport itself was deserted – meaning they were walking “straight across”.
Temperature checks were carried out at the airport, but the group was not asked to fill out forms, she said.
‘I think it’s really safe in Spain, because they went into a strict lockdown two weeks before the UK. I think Benidorm is ready for more tourists to come soon, “she added.
Benidorm Spain, one of the most popular resort towns, generally receives millions of tourists each year, with the Briton being the best supplier of visitors.
In any other year, it would be the start of its peak summer season, with filling hotels and bars doing a swift trade.
Benidorm – Spain one of the city’s most popular resorts, has been all-but deserted for months amid banned coronaviruses, but is now starting to reopen (pictured, the beach divided into socially distant tan areas)
Tracey Walker, an expatriate bar owner in the old town of Benidorm, urged the other Britons to make the trip soon because “without them, we are dead”
But instead of the station is barely appearing from months of forced closure amid coronavirus locks across Europe which also saw tourism as an effective ban.
On Sunday, Spain lifted its coronavirus state of emergency, including the requirement that all visitors quarantine by 14 days of arrival, and urged visitors to return.
The British Foreign Office continues to give advice against any unnecessary travel and the UK visitors still need quarantine for two weeks when they get home, but that hasn’t stopped making the journey.
Michael Golden, 69, from Birmingham, was another British tourist who took advantage of the application of the new rules of the head abroad.
He said he has been coming to Benidorm for 15 years, flying from Birmingham to Alicante with Ryanair on Sunday.
Birmingham Airport was “deserted” and he got it through Alicante Airport “faster than usual”, he says, but he ended up “baskets” on the plane, with people seated on either side.
While passengers have been kept two meters apart, at Birmingham Airport, they are stranded nearby on a bus transfer from the plane to the terminal on arrival.
He was also forced to take a 90 euro taxi ride from Alicante, Benidorm since there were no buses running to the city.
Despite this, he said he was “safe” and was not worried about catching the virus.
Benidorm generally hosts millions of visitors each year with the British its largest overseas market, but was left deserted after tourism was effectively banned
“Pubs are not open in England, so when the alarm state ended, I thought I would try to get to Benidorm,” he said.
He booked his flight just five days before the scheduled takeoff, saying it was the first he found that was scheduled.
He explained that the other two he booked flights have already been canceled, and that he used an airline voucher to pay for a new one.
“They didn’t ask me to fill out any forms, don’t think they had the English version of what I was one of the first tourists to do,” he added.
Meanwhile Tracey Walker is the owner of the Britannia Bar in the old town of Benidorm.
She runs the bar with her husband and usually has two employees, with the “full” bar all summer. But now the business has been neglected for weeks.
They tried to open two weeks ago when domestic tourism restarted, but there were so few customers that they had to close and sell their shares.
“We need the British tourists back. Without the British, we are dead, ”she said.
“In Spain, we have adhered to the state of alarm rules, we have kept away from each other and constantly disinfected. We deserve tourists and we need their backs. “
Spain is among many European countries, desperately trying to restart its tourism sector in time for the summer season to try and lessen the damage to its economy.
She is currently planning a second reopening on July 3.
Spain is among the countries most affected by the coronavirus, with 246,752 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 28,325 deaths.
At one point, he had one of the highest daily cases and deaths in the world, but pushed the virus back into full lockdown on March 15.
The ministers gradually began to reopen the economy in early May and have now reached the final phase, including the reopening of the borders.
European leaders are desperately trying to restart the tourism sector in time for the lucrative summer season, in an attempt to mitigate the damage to their economies.
Most major European countries, including Spain, Italy, Germany and France now offer visitors freely, without the need for quarantine.
But the UK, which does not go into lockdown until March 23 and still has a high daily toll free compared to its neighbors, is to continue to insist that all arrivals – including its own citizens – must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
Who has made overseas tourism difficult, if not impossible, for many, especially as workplaces reopen after months of working from home.