Costa Blanca hotel industry fears testing ‘obstacle’ that could stop UK tourists visiting

Grant Shapps discusses introduction of 'simpler' travel system

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Hosbec, the association of hotels in the region, fears there is a “potential risk that the UK will run out of reagents for antigen testing in the next few days”. The association is reportedly worried that supply issues in the UK, such as the current petrol problem, could also affect testing.

From October 4, Brits will no longer have to take a pre-departure test before arriving in the UK.

They will still need to take a PCR test on or before day after arrival, although the UK Government has announced lateral flow tests will replace PCRs in later October.

Grant Shapps stated the delay for the testing switch was caused by a shortage of lateral flow tests in the UK.

He told a Government Select Committee: “But my understanding is that the ramp-up of supply of lateral flow (tests) through the private testing sector has some way to go (since) they have been almost entirely involved in providing PCR currently.”

Shapps added: “We go from a situation where they are providing a low number of thousands (of tests), to probably millions of tests very quickly and need a few weeks to scale up on it.”

Families with holidays booked for the October half-term break have expressed fears they will have to fork out for PCR tests instead of lateral flows if the change is delayed.

Hoteliers in Benidorm are worried testing shortages could lead to Brits cancelling their holidays.

Hosbec said it has contacted the British Embassy in Spain and the Consul General to change the rules on UK tourists buying tests in Spain.

Currently UK tourists must use tests approved by the UK Government and the tests must come from a private testing provider.

Hosbec said there are “more than enough in the pharmacies and laboratories in Spain” to offer British tourists.

Hosbec said: “This would be a highly recommendable option in view of the distribution problems that the UK has been suffering in the last few weeks.

“It could become an obstacle for many tourists wishing to travel to Spain.” It is believed the association was referring to the current petrol and supermarket supply issues across the UK.

The hoteliers have said they are in constant contact with airport authorities and VisitBenidorm in case a specific October 4 testing campaign is needed.

Those working in the tourism sector in Benidorm are hoping to see a boom in UK arrivals once rules are relaxed on Monday.

Currently, British tourists make up 20 percent of travellers in Benidorm and are the largest international market.

Hotels in Benidorm have reported occupancy rates of over 70 percent in September while some have said they are close to full.

Brits are extremely popular with tourism workers in Benidorm with many thrilled to see UK tourists back in the resort.

Benidorm is hoping for a busy autumn season with tourists choosing to travel later on in the year than normal.

Other popular holiday destinations in the Costa Blanca include Alicante, Javea, Denia and Torrevieja.

Tourists visiting the Costa Blanca are advised to check local restrictions and UK Government advice before travelling.

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