Benidorm Town Hall has launched a novel initiative to try to lure UK tourists back to the popular Mediterranean resort. The aim with Benidorm Island is to provide a “safe health corridor” for tourists this autumn, and thus encourage the British government to exclude the area from its quarantine restrictions for returning travellers.
According to mayor Toni Pérez, the town hall wants to offer the “same Benidorm as always” while resuming tourist activities with a series of rigidly-tested security measures that have been implemented in accordance with Benidorm’s ”constant aspiration to offer happiness, which is part of its spiritual DNA”.
Pérez stressed that a destination like Benidorm cannot stand still and needs to prepare the best roadmap possible for attracting tourists from the UK. The project is supported by several other institutions including Visit Benidorm, Hosbec, Costa Blanca Tourist Board and Alicante-Elche Airport. “Benidorm Island is already a genuine proposal,” he said, “one which could also be replicated and adopted for other areas of the Costa Blanca and for source markets operating out of the Alicante-Elche Airport hub, as well as for the rest of the Valencia region.”
Visit Benidorm manager Leire Bilbao described Benidorm Island as “a safe destination in bubble format, with extraordinary measures that include exchanging tests for quarantine in the only ‘island’ operating for British tourists in mainland Spain this winter. This ‘insularity’ aspect is what actually defines the customary behavioural patterns of British tourists on holiday in Benidorm.”
She said measures required for Benidorm Island would include applying antigen tests, and the possibility of PCR screening, both on arrival at the destination and prior to departure; and a collaborative commitment by hotels, complementary tourism businesses, hospitals and tour operators. There would also be monitoring apps and, as a key to the success of the project, a “hospitality team” monitoring tourists during their stay in Benidorm and a period of 14 days after their return to the United Kingdom.
This would represent an “added hospitality bonus”, said mayor Toni Pérez, “and we are working on the insurance policy”. He said the project also contemplated weekly tests for workers linked to tourism to “ensure the best health conditions”.
Nuria Montes, secretary general of Hosbec, said the objective was to “generate confidence both in the destination and in the work carried out”, under the premise that the current pandemic situation is “a risk associated with people and not places”.
She said the project had been specifically designed to encourage Spanish and UK authorities to grant an exception so that Benidorm “can continue to operate with professionalism, safety and guarantees in place”.
Carlos Mazón, president of the Alicante provincial government, said the initiative highlighted “a fusion of objectives, interests and responsibilities aimed at offering a product with well-locked-in security measures”.
Describing Benidorm as an “icebreaker ship for safe corridors”, he called on the British government “to listen to British residents and tourists who want to travel to Benidorm and feel safe”.
Francesc Colomer, the regional government’s secretary for tourism, said Benidorm Island “reinforces the idea of unity between administrations”, noting that Benidorm Town Hall’s commitment to the project was “like a polar star that sets the course for everyone”.
He said Benidorm Island would “dismantle the wall of quarantine and build a bridge to the destination with those same stones”.
Benidorm is also encouraging “digital nomads” to move to the resort.