Valencia wants Brits to stay longer

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Valencia wants Brits

Valencia wants Brits to be able to bypass the 90-day visa rule in their community

President of the Valencian region, Ximo Puig, has said that Valencia wants Brits to be able to stay longer than 90 days at a time in their area of Spain. As one of the main tourist areas in the country, including British favourites like Benidorm and Alicante, they have seen a big drop off in numbers over the last few years and they want to entice them back.

Puig was speaking at the World Travel Market Exposition in London this week and lamented that the new post-Brexit visa rules of 90 days stay in every 180 day period were damaging the economy of his region. The number of Britons visiting the region fell sharply from 3 million in 2019 to just 600,000 in 2020. While the pandemic had a lot to do with this decrease, Puig stated that the previous levels were unlikely to return due to Brexit travel restrictions. 

He said he would like Brexit to be “as Brexit-less as possible” as he is concerned about the effect of the rules on new retirees who own or were planning to buy holiday homes in the region. Having limits on the amount of time they can stay in the country and when may put people off buying in the country, he added. 

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Spain’s Tourism Minister, Reyes Maroto, assured Mr Puig that the government had already set up a ‘task force’ that includes diplomats from the UK and Spain. Their job is to work on ‘joint solutions to mobility issue’, but did not say what these solutions may be. 

Although there was a rush on Spanish residency applications at the end of 2020, Mr Puig is worried for those who don’t hold resident status or even the families of the people who do. Valencia wants Brits, and Carlos Mazon, president of Alicante’s tourism board, described British visitors as a ‘fundamental’ source of wealth for the region while at the expo. 

“We are working on reciprocity so that they can also be in our territory for six months in a row when they come to visit us, as these are the conditions that apply for people from Alicante and Spain when they visit the United Kingdom”, he said. It isn’t clear if Spain will be able to do this as they are bound under EU treaties because they are within the Schengen zone, but the region of Valencia is really trying to make changes.



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