Travel ban: Epidemiologist says ‘closing borders does not work’
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The Costa del Sol region is a top holiday destination for British tourists with many travelling there each winter. The popular resort areas of Torremolionos, Benalmadena and Marbella are all within the region.
Research from the Association of Hotel Entrepreneurs of the Costa del Sol Hotels found that only 55 percent of rooms were booked between December 23 and January 2.
Before the pandemic hit, the Costa del Sol normally saw 78 percent of hotel rooms filled for the same period.
Demand for Spanish holidays was relatively high in November, however the Omicron variant led many to cancel.
Many British holidaymakers were forced to abandon plans after Spain banned unvaccinated British tourists from entry.
As the rule included children over the age of 12, many British families with teenagers had no choice but to cancel their holiday.
At the start of December, most British teenagers had not had a chance to be fully vaccinated and were banned from Spain.
Jose Luque, president of the Malaga hoteliers, told Olive Press: “When the sector began to regain confidence and international tourism seemed to take flight, a new variant of Covid-19 has once again put hotel business in Malaga at a huge disadvantage.”
He said the emergence of the new variant and consequent cancellations were a huge “setback” to the industry.
Mr Luque added: “It is a highly contagious variant that can cause unvaccinated groups and the most vulnerable to overwhelm our health services.
“Fear over this variant has undoubtedly led to an increase in the number of cancellations.
“Hopefully vaccination progresses at a good pace and that, together with the immunity that we are acquiring, we can enjoy a much better 2022.”
Over 70 hotels in Malaga city remain closed which represent about 21 percent of the total number of hotels.
The reports of Costa del Sol cancellations follow the news that several hotels in Benidorm have been “forced” to close due to British cancellations.
Those working in the tourism industry in Benidorm said that one British tour operator had cancelled 60,000 bookings.
The Spanish Government announced this week that face masks would once again be compulsory outdoors.
Spain has yet to introduce more countrywide restrictions although some regions are using a Covid passport.
To qualify for a Covid passport, tourists will need to be fully vaccinated, recently recovered or have a negative test.
Face masks are mandatory inside public spaces in Spain as well as on all public transport and at stations.
The region of Murcia in Spain has announced that nightclub dance floors will have to close and non-essential service will be subject to a curfew.
Restaurants, bars and clubs must be closed between one and six in the morning, in a blow to Murcia’s nightlife sector.
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