TOURISTS and expats who have started trickling back into Spanish holiday resorts now the State of Alarm is over are arriving to find a Spain they have never known before.
Holidaymakers are being faced with strict social distancing on beaches and swimming pool restrictions. There’s obligatory mask wearing in shops and busy public spaces, and hand sanitising upon entry to most establishments. They will find bars and restaurants with restricted capacities, limited numbers allowed in shopping centres and dancing in nightclubs banned.
The measures come as Spain aims to keep coronavirus cases at bay, but without doing any further damage to tourism. In 2019, more than 80 million tourists visited the country and injected more than €90 billion into the economy.
The Spanish government is desperate to see the return of tourists, but so far, just one day into the new normality after the State of Alarm, towns that are usually jammed with tourists are still desperately quiet for this time of year.
Businesses in Benidorm are branding the popular holiday spot a ‘ghost town’ and are hoping confidence will build among foreigners to return to Spain for their holidays this year.
Many Brits have reported being wary over international travel with flight cancellations, delays in refunds, travelling on planes in such close proximity to strangers and knowing that Spain was one of the worst affected regions in the world.
But, the Spanish have mixed feelings about the return of tourism. Business owners are desperate to start making money, but they also don’t want Spain’s coronavirus cases to start increasing and bring another State of Alarm.
A bar owner in Fuegnirola told the Euro Weekly News: “We really want to see more people returning to our wonderful town, but it can’t be at the expense of more coronavirus cases. The measures the government have put in place must stay and the tourists must respect them.”