BENIDORM and the Marina Baja are bucking the national trend for increased Covid-19 cases.
At last count the area had 70 coronavirus cases for every 100,000 inhabitants, the Valencian Community’s Health department said.
This is very similar to the Canary Islands, at present the only Spanish region that both the UK and Germany class as a safe tourist destination.
It also gives Benidorm an island status within Alicante province. Infection rates are reassuringly low there at a time when the Valencian Community, like most autonomous regions, has sealed its boundaries on a “no-one out and no-one in” basis.
Local Spanish media sources suggested that the good figures were linked to reduced mobility on the part of fewer people.
This tendency was only interrupted during the October 6-9 long weekend, when an influx of visitors temporarily increased the infection rate.
Dr Rosa Cereceda, manager of the Marina Baja hospital, partly attributed the low Covid infection rate to PCR and antigen testing.
“Rapid results allow us to control contacts,” Cereceda told the Press.
Meanwhile, Benidorm mayor Toni Perez added that nobody should let their guard down: “We have done things properly, and that means a low infection rate.”
Comparing Benidorm to an island has not been lost on the town hall, hoteliers’ association Hosbec or the resort’s tourism industry.
Last September the Benidorm Island concept of a safe corridor for British tourists had backing from Alicante’s provincial council, the Diputacion, and the region’s Tourist Board.
At present, all involved are soft-pedalling the initiative, without putting it aside.
“The right moment is further away than it was a month ago, owing to the pandemic’s evolution,” Leire Bilbao, director of Visit Benidorm, admitted.
“But we shall continue working so we are prepared when the time comes,” Bilbao stressed.
Hosbec president Toni Mayor agreed: “We are on standby owing to the present situation in Spain and Europe and we shall have to see how it evolves,” he said.
Mayor also pointed out that the Canary Islands experience would be useful. “We shall be able to use it as a model,” he added.
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