BENIDORM is facing its worst start to a new year, with around 50 per cent of its hotels closed due to a massive drop in tourists.
Hoteliers say the situation is dire and was only matched by the period of time when all hotels had to close down at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
They say the weeks after Christmas up until the middle of February have always been the quietest for the hotel industry but this year will also be the hardest.
"Benidorm starts the year with close to 50 per cent of the hotel establishments closed, a complicated situation that only exceeded the months of total closure that they had to carry out due to the restrictions of the pandemic," said a hotel spokesman.
"The wave of hotel closures and the lack of foreign or national travellers also affects bars and restaurants that have seen how the streets of the city emptied after the Christmas period. "
Álex Fratini, representative of the Abreca hotel association, told the Spanish press: "Many hotels have decided to 'close the blinds,' either to go on vacation, to make improvements and reforms in their premises or simply because 'the lack of work' does not make it profitable to open every day."
According to Abreca data, among its nearly 1,300 associates, "50 per cent are closed right now because 'it's not worth it'."
Hotel association, Hosbec has also confirmed that Benidorm has seen its average occupancy rate drop over just one week by nearly 10 percentage points.
The average occupancy of the destination stands at 43.7 per cent for the days between January 3 and 9.
"It is the second worst winter in the history of tourism after 2021, when everything was closed due to the pandemic," said its president, Toni Mayor.
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National tourists accounted for 44.3 per cent of the total this week, leaving 55.7 per cent of importance for the international market.
The British tourist maintains its position as the main international source market and is consolidated with 34.2 per cent per cent of the total occupancy quota while in second and third position are the Belgian and Dutch markets with 8.1 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.
As for the forecast between January 10 and 16, it is expected to end up reaching 32.5 per cent.
A predicted figure that, if produced, would confirm the pessimistic expectations of the sector after the Christmas holidays.
There are currently a total of 48 hotels associated with HOSBEC open in Benidorm, which represents a representation of 42.5 per cent.
Despite the gloomy outlook, Hosbec says Benidorm is still doing relatively well compared with other national destinations and the Brits are remaining loyal.
"The presence of 34 per cent of Brits in Benidorm when the restrictions had not yet been lifted is striking," said Toni Mayor.
The resort is hoping that some sort of normality will return at the end of February.
"The expectations are for a spring and summer without restrictions and with a normalised epidemiological situation," he said.
Spain is currently open to Brits, although all arrivals must be vaccinated.
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