Benidorm tourism bosses have spoken of their anger after being left off the “green list” despite reporting low coronavirus rates.
Mayor Toni Pérez slammed the UK Government’s decision as he said the resort’s infection rate is lower than Portugal, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.
He called for Benidorm to be added to the green list as he branded the popular holiday destination a “place of happiness” for Brits.
At the moment, there are 12 countries on the green list – and it means tourists do not need to quarantine when they return to Britain from those countries.
He said: “Benidorm meets the criteria to be green in that traffic light system.
“The latest data available from the Spanish health authorities position the Valencian community as the region with the best control of the epidemiological situation.
“The data for the province of Alicante and Benidorm in particular are highly satisfactory.
“The cumulative incidence at 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants in the Valencian Community is 40.99 cases, while the general incidence of the province of Alicante and Benidorm is six points lower.
“And compared to the destinations announced in the last hours, Benidorm has better AI data than Portugal (58.9), the Canary Islands (98) or the Balearic Islands (61.6).”
Mr Pérez said he wants to “personally inform the British ambassador of the reality of the Benidorm tourist destination in which the British market accounts for 40 per cent of the tourist demand for the city.”
The mayor said Benidorm had carried out great work to combat the pandemic, closing its beaches and hotels in March 2020, eight days before the recommendation of the Spanish Government and had organised the repatriation operation of more than 35,000 Britons to preserve them from the incidence of Covid- 19.
“Since then, the action of the municipal government, with the involvement of all sectors of tourism in the town, has been the containment of the pandemic and the protection of the Benidorm brand, the tourist structure and the social fabric,” he said.
“We have made great effort made to keep the destination standing, developing works and actions so that upon the return of tourists they find a better and more prepared Benidorm, with all the sanitary guarantees for the enjoyment of the city.”
And he added: “Benidorm continues to be a benchmark of happiness for the British and the city and its tourism companies have prepared to receive them in the best conditions. “
The plea to reactivate British tourism is being backed by hoteliers across the Valencia region who say the level of coronavirus in their area is low and under control.
“The British market is essential for the recovery of Valencian tourism, with a special impact on the Benidorm area and the Costa Blanca, where it represents 40 per cent of the total market,” says the hotel association, Hosbec.
The group wants the Valencian government so take “fast and firm action” so British tourists can travel “relatively normally”.
Hoteliers say the Valencia’s leaders have managed the coronavirus crisis very well and endursed many sacrifices to get the data under control but are not doing enough to lobby for urgent reopening.
“Valencia’s president should be knocking on all the doors of Downing Street right now to show the data of the Valencian community,” says Hosbec.
After Portugal was put on the green list, travel websites saw a “surge” in bookings from eager holidaymakers, one travel firm has said.
The Department of Transport revealed at 5pm on Friday that the European nation was one of just 12 destinations that travellers will be able to visit from May 17 without having to self-isolate on return to England.
David Child, head of PR and brand at Thomas Cook, said bookings for Portugal were “through the roof” immediately after the announcement as people had been “poised, ready and waiting to go”.
“We took in the first hour from 5pm to 6pm as many Portugal bookings as we took in the whole month of April,” he told the PA news agency.
Israel and Gibraltar are also among the 12 destinations where Brits can travel to without having to quarantine on their return.
The list also features several remote British Overseas Territories and destinations where visits are heavily restricted, such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and the Faroe Islands.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told a Downing Street press conference the Government must “make absolutely sure” the countries the UK reconnects with are safe.
He said: “We in this country have managed to construct a fortress against Covid. But the disease is still prevalent in other parts of the world, most notably at the moment in India.
“In fact, more new cases of Covid have been diagnosed around the world in the last seven days than at any time since the pandemic began.”