BENIDORM hasn't "given up home" on British tourists returning to the region despite fears of Spanish holidays being off the cards this year.
Mayor Toni Perez says he is confident Covid-19 will beat Brit's love affair with the famous Costa Blanca resort, with four out of every ten holidaymakers coming from the UK.
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Spain currently has more than 272,000 cases of coronavirus, and 23,000 confirmed deaths.
The country has now enforced a 14-day quarantine on anyone entering Spain from today.
Benidorm-born father-of-one Toni, town mayor since June 2015, said: “The British are our number one international tourists.
“Benidorm is their home and I’m sure we’ll be in many peoples’ minds this summer if they can’t end up coming.
“The horizon we’re looking at in terms of being able to receive the numbers of tourists we had when we started to empty hotels on March 14 is March next year.
“But I haven’t given up hope of seeing British tourists back this summer."
“We don’t know if there’ll be a treatment or vaccine by then or how the pandemic will have evolved here or in Britain.
“Whatever the date Benidorm will be prepared when British holidaymakers can come here and we will welcome them with open arms.”
The local authority is still finalising details of how it will re-open its beaches up to the general population, although Mr Perez has ruled out the use of plexiglass cubicles to box off visitors and hinted technology will play a big part in making sure social distancing recommendations are respected.
But some bars have already re-opened as part of the easing of coronavirus restrictions and the sun was out in Benidorm on Monday when the first customers came back.
Brit expats, some with no face masks on but their shirts off so they could top up their tans, were able to enjoy their first pub pints in nearly two months.
Customers can only be served on outside bar tables until a new easing of restrictions expected to occur the week after next, but the town is getting back to business.
At the moment last orders are more UK-style with an 11pm closing time being agreed between the town hall and local business owners in the resort.
But Mr Perez, whose town has been hit by the double whammy of a Spanish quarantine on international travellers which starts today and a UK quarantine announced last Sunday for later in the year, is predicting normal Spanish-style timetables will kick in as the summer draws nearer.
He insisted yesterday: “No-one has banned late-night drinking in Benidorm as some UK reports have suggested.
“The 11pm closing time was something we agreed with local business owners out of respect and comprehension for the current situation more than anything else.
“Spain’s still in a state of emergency and millions of people here are still subject to time constraints on when they can go out to do things like sport or spend leisure time with their children.
“It didn’t seem appropriate in those circumstances for people to be leaving their homes at midnight to go for a drink."
“But that will change in the coming weeks if the health situation continues to improve and the confinement measures are eased again.
“Benidorm will be a safe place and a prepared place in this new reality we are all living and peoples’ health will always be paramount even though the economy is also very important."
“But Benidorm will also be a fun place and I hope British people will be able to savour it very shortly, whether they’re first-time visitors or regulars.
“It’s bad news for us that Britain is going to impose its own quarantine and it’s bad news for those Brits who were planning on going abroad this summer.
“That’s a domestic issue first and foremost and each country has to regulate in the way its sees best.
“But we will continue to work on being better."
“When British holidaymakers can return here they’ll be coming to a safer resort and they’ll feel even more comfortable and at home than they have over so many years here.”
Benidorm's legendary Tiki Beach bar is back in business after Spain's coronavirus lockdown.
The famous Costa Blanca watering hole – now re-named Aloha Beach Bar – is said to have taken over a bar next door so holidaymakers can enjoy their booze whilst maintaining a sensible distance.
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