Local Daily News 22nd May

The return of the British brings back tourist activity and opens new businesses in Benidorm

Full streets, bars with terraces that are packed, hotels with few free places and businessmen who resume their activity. British tourism has returned to Benidorm to stay. In recent weeks, the landing of these travellers in the city has reminded us of the situation that existed before the covid ended the activity for months with a stroke of the pen. Tourist activity picks up day by day and the sector already anticipates a recovery of this market even earlier than expected. Thus, the return of the English has brought the reopening of businesses that closed due to the health crisis and also the creation of new ones to meet all the demand.

The British return to what they “feel like home,” according to Karen Maling Cowles, head of Benidorm’s British Businesses Association; an entity formed by British businessmen in the city. “They wanted sun and leisure and, above all, Benidorm,” she added. Because the English have never stopped thinking about when to return and many began to do so as soon as the restrictions due to the pandemic ended. But May is being a “record” for tourism and among the reasons is the landing of UK citizens in the city.

Just two months ago, the English area had barely 50% of hospitality businesses open and many hotels dedicated to this market still kept their facilities closed. The situation in mid-May is completely different. 90% of the hotels associated with the Hosbec hotel association are already open in Benidorm, that is, 104 hotel establishments, to which must be added 31 apartments and eight campsites associated with the entity; In addition, all the hotels of the Servigroup chain are also in operation, some of them with the majority of English clients. In Benidorm, according to the latest data from the Hosbec hotel association, British tourists continue to consolidate themselves as the leader of the international market with more than 41% of the total and almost equal to national tourism.

This recovery is also confirmed by the airport passenger data. According to data from Aena on passenger traffic at the Alicante-Elche airport, in 2021 1.4 million Britons passed through the terminal, compared to the 5.9 million who did so in 2019. But those figures have changed and right now infrastructure activity is practically the same as it was three years ago.

But beyond the data is the palpable reality. To walk any day of the week through the English area of ​​Benidorm is to move back to three years ago. The English “were very keen to come,” Cowles said; many “repeaters who did not come three years ago” have even returned. And that has been a shock for the business fabric of the city, especially that of this area located in Rincón de Loix. The pandemic forced the hotel and leisure businesses to close for months and the evolution of covid and the UK’s own restrictions left a complicated situation for this sector. However, the wish that, as soon as they could travel, English tourists would return and that the beginning of summer would be a good time has been fulfilled.

The main streets of Rincón de Loix are once again becoming the nerve centre of the English area, some of them with a totally renewed urban scene, such as Calle Mallorca. Thus, “new businesses are opening and others that had to close are reopening their doors again,” Cowles explained. Practically 100% of the new openings are hospitality businesses: “British people who come and want to open a business usually open it in the hospitality industry.” In the association they have consultations on this subject practically every week.

Something that corroborates the hospitality sector: “Those that were closed for a long time have reopened and there are new openings” of premises or expansion of establishments of companies that already had one, according to Álex Fratini, a member of Abreca. “It is being a very good month for the hotel industry, not only in the English area, but also for other businesses on Levante beach or the city centre.” Because British tourists no longer only stay in the Rincón, but also visit other areas that they had not set foot in before to fill up terraces or premises.

But in addition, as Fratini explained, these travellers “spend practically twice as much as Spanish tourists.” Thus, a British person can spend between about 80 euros a day consuming in catering establishments; Spanish tourists spend less, between 40-50 euros, according to what he added. “Domestic tourists, for example, have breakfast for an average of 3 euros; those from the United Kingdom can spend around 7 or 8 on an English breakfast,” according to the person in charge of Abreca.

It’s not just spending, it’s a change in customs. The English eat and dine earlier, which has meant that many businesses have added one more shift of tables to serve these consumers. Fratini explained that “they eat at 1:00 p.m. and dine from 6:00 p.m.”, which means that the service hours and kitchens have been extended to deal with those hours that this type of tourism brings. But the results are very positive.

However, regarding the labour market, Cowles explained that the hotel businesses in Rincón de Loix are having problems finding professionals: “Many young people have come on flights and have found that they cannot work because they do not have a residence” and “if they do not they can be discharged.” Because Brexit also left only visas for a maximum of 90 days in a row. Normally, “businesses in the English area also hired British people to serve customers.”

Even so, the tourism sector is once again seeing how these travellers fill the city again and anticipate that it will be a good summer for this market that already has many reservations ready. And they just hope that the situation remains smooth.

Not only the city receives those tourists who spend a few days on vacation each year. Benidorm also has a market niche for long-stay tourists; that is, those who extend their stay for several months in the locality. The arrival of Brexit put an end to part of this type of traveller who spent long periods in Spain. The United Kingdom ceased to belong to the European Union and that meant that foreigners from this country could only stay here for a maximum of 90 days, after which they have to return to their country and cannot return for another 90 days. That is, in one year, they could only travel three months in a row on two separate occasions. If not, they must apply for a “special” non-profit visa to spend more time in Spain.

That had begun to have the first consequences: the sale of housing or caravans that this type of British had in Benidorm. All further aggravated by the restrictions due to the pandemic. But those travel bans are over and many of those who spent months in the tourist capital are coming back too. This was explained by Karen Maling Cowles: “The processing of these special visas has increased.”

“Every week we are having cases. It takes a lot of paperwork but still there are many who want to come for long periods of time,” explained Cowles. And what does this type of tourist mean for the city? Well, an incentive for economic activity. The reason is none other than, due to the demanding requirements for this visa, those who travel “have a good economic situation. They are people with a better quality of life and greater purchasing power.” What has repercussions is that they spend more in the city when they go to local businesses.

Two high-end cars on fire in Los Dolses in Orihuela Costa

Two high-end and new vehicles, an Audi A6 and a Q5, have burned on Calle Ciruela, in Los Dolses, next to the old Playas de Orihuela school, on the Coast. Around 6 in the morning yesterday, residents of the area heard two explosions, apparently caused by the bursting of car wheels.

Eyewitnesses have pointed out that the firefighters, who travel from Orihuela, took about 15 minutes to arrive. CLARO has stated, gathering the feelings of the residents on the coast, that “if we had the Emergency Center open, the waiting time for the troops to arrive would have been reduced by half, so it could have been avoided that burned the second car would not have burned”.

Neighbourhood organisations have asked the City Council for the immediate start-up of the Emergency Centre. The local police have also travelled to the scene to investigate the incident.

Firefighters put out a fire in an industrial warehouse in the urban area of Monóvar

Firefighters were working this Saturday to extinguish a fire declared midday yesterday in an industrial warehouse located in the urban area of ​​Monóvar, according to sources from the Provincial Consortium. The fire notice occurred shortly after 12:30, at a time when, apparently, there was no one in the ship, dedicated to the footwear sector and which has a garage on its ground floor.

The damaged factory is located on Moncada de Monóvar street, south of the town centre, in front of blocks of flats, which are not known to have been affected by the event, beyond the fact that precautions had to be taken due to the intense smoke that has been generated. There have also been very intense flames, although there has been no personal injury.

Extinction tasks continue at the time of preparing this information, shortly after 2:00 p.m. A large deployment of means participates in them: a headquarters command unit, two heavy urban pumps, two heavy mother pumps, two stairlifts and a heavy rural pump, with a sergeant, three corporals and 20 firefighters from the parks of Elda, Villena , San Vicente del Raspeig and Elche, according to the same sources.

The electric macro bus that will link Elche with Crevillent will arrive in Altabix, El Pla and Carrús

The Generalitat Valenciana has designed two electric macro buses, twelve metres long to connect Elche with Alicante and Crevillent. The vehicle that will connect with the carpet town will stop in different neighbourhoods of the city such as Altabix, El Pla and Carrús, through a circular route. It is one of the details that the mayor of Mobility of the City Council, Esther Díez, has made known about the regional plan that is on public display, whose implementation date is unknown although the Consell said it would be “in the short term”.

The fast bus line to connect with the capital of the province, an area in which more than 5,000 daily journeys take place, will consist of 24 kilometres, with four of them in reserved lane and will link the Elx Carrús and Elx Parc train stations , the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH) and the Business Park with the axes of the Puerta de Alicante shopping centre, México street, the Emilio Álvarez roundabout, the Alicante intermodal station and the bus station. “The forecast is that the service has eight vehicles and that the investment is 6,484,500 euros, it will also have a universal accessibility platform at all stops with an automatic guidance system and 12-metre vehicles”, highlighted the councillor of Mobility.

Likewise, the second high-capacity fast bus will connect with Crevillent, the AVE station, the El Sauce shopping centre and the Aljub shopping centre and will then continue with a circular tour of the city that will run through Pla, Portes Encarnados, the General Hospital, Altabix and which will then continue along Diagonal Street, the Carrús industrial estate and Novelda Avenue to continue along Libertad Avenue. “It will circulate in the urban section by reserved platform, the service will be provided with an articulated vehicle and the frequencies of passage will be ten minutes on the circular itinerary and 20 minutes on the smaller streets”, detailed the councillor, who has also stated that “The planned investment in this case is 65 million euros.”

“Without a doubt, it is a transport service that allows mobility to be transformed in the Crevillent-Elx-Alacant axis, which offers a real and effective alternative in a totally clean mode and which is key to structuring the three municipalities”, Díez highlighted, for whom “the proposal is up to the responses that the climate emergency urgently requires and will be key to reducing polluting emissions in our municipality and throughout the axis.”

The mayor has warned that for this mode of transport to be really effective, “we need this planning to take shape as soon as possible and we have demanded this from the Ministry, to which we have urged that the fast electric bus service be a reality as soon as possible to change the modes of transport that are carried out today, ”said the mayor.

The Mobility Plan also includes five “Park and Ride” in the municipality. These are dissuasive car parks that connect with public transport services. Two are proposed in the eastern area (one of them next to the Martínez Valero stadium), one in the southern area, another in the western part of the city and another in the north.

For its part, “Park and Walk” are also created so that users can park their vehicle and make the last journey on foot. In the case of Elx, two are planned, a priori in the northwest area of ​​the city.

The Councillor for Mobility explained that “the PMOME also highlights the importance of closing the southern round of Elche and we have transferred to the general director the need for the Generalitat Valenciana to include the execution of this infrastructure in the transfer of funds in terms of infrastructures that the central government has carried out”.

“In turn, we have conveyed to the Ministry the importance of continuing to support our demand for the improvement of the suburban network before the Ministry of Transport and, in fact, the PMOME includes the improvement of the C1 line as a crucial action” , he added.

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