Mallorcan hoteliers say they have given up hope that British tourists will return this summer and are closing their doors as a result.
Spain was abruptly removed from the UK’s travel lanes list last month and cases have continued to rise since then, with nearly 26,000 new infections reported in the past seven days alone.
With only a few weeks left in the summer holiday season, hotels say they can’t compete with destinations like Turkey and Greece where travel routes are still open and which lure UK holidaymakers with deals to reduced prices.
Four-star Fergus Style Soller Beach in Puerto de Soller in Mallorca is among those that have closed, leaving a few tourists embarrassed shortly before their arrival.
Spain has seen a worrying increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with nearly 26,000 cases recorded in the past seven days – up from less than 3,000 per week in June
The four-star Fergus Style Soller Beach (pictured) in Puerto de Soller in Mallorca has closed – leaving a few tourists embarrassed shortly before their arrival
Maria Frontera, president of the Mallorca hotel federation, said that without the lifting of the quarantine, hotels would now begin to close their doors.
Elsewhere, Tenerife is still pushing for a reversal of British policy as the Canary Islands holiday season continues until fall “so there is still time,” according to the island’s government.
The Balearic and Canary Islands were initially exempt from the Foreign Ministry’s warning against non-essential travel, but it was later extended to cover them.
Staff at Sóller Beach told guests: ‘We come to you with bad news dear friends: Due to the latest COVID measures taken by the UK government, we have no choice but to shut down the hotel for this season.
“We are devastated and we know many of you will be too. We hope you all stay safe, positive, and eager to come back as soon as things improve, if not this year next.
Some visitors said they were also appalled by the news, with one vacationer saying she only had a week to find an alternative.
Mallorcan hoteliers said they had placed their hopes in negotiations between the island’s rulers and the British government.
However, they fear that the continued increase in coronavirus cases over the past fortnight has sealed their fate.
In addition, airlines Jet2, TUI Fly and EasyJet announced that they were canceling many of their flights in August.
People wearing face masks walk through a shopping street in the Las Delicias district of Zaragoza in Spain on Monday
According to the latest data from Turespaña, since the UK government reimposed the quarantine, bookings for Spain have fallen by 80%.
Fall includes the winter 2020/21 and summer 2021 holidays, with worried vacationers canceling plans to travel abroad next year.
Hoteliers on the Costa del Sol estimate that 90% of UK bookings have now been canceled.
“We hope that the quarantine will be reversed so that tourist activity, which had resumed with encouraging results, can be reactivated for the winter campaign,” said tourism advisor José Gregorio Martín Plata.
Spain has suffered 25,926 cases in the past seven days, up from 18,272 the week before and less than 3,000 a week in June.
The total has now surpassed that of Britain to become the highest in Western Europe, sparking criticism of the Spanish government.
While France, Germany and Italy have also seen an increase in cases in recent weeks, Spain’s spike is by far the largest among those countries.
There are currently more than 500 outbreaks in Spain, according to the Ministry of Health.
The ministry’s emergency coordinator, Fernando Simon, said on Monday that there were cases of community transmission in some places that are “not fully controlled,” but he said they had “gradually calmed down” these days. last days.
The Spanish government defended its response to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, saying “appropriate measures” were being taken in coordination with the regions.
“The data shows that we are very active in tracking and detecting the virus,” the government said in a statement.
The government also said it had tested nearly 7.5 million people since the start of the pandemic, with more than 400,000 tested in the last week alone.
A healthcare worker dressed in protective gear takes samples from a woman at La Jota health center in Zaragoza on Monday
Official figures show 65 people died from the virus last week, bringing the total death toll to 28,576.
Spain imposed one of the toughest lockdowns in the world after the death toll increased in March and April, but the state of emergency has since been lifted.
In a letter published in the medical journal The Lancet, a group of Spanish health experts called for an independent investigation into the government’s handling of the crisis.
More than 50,000 health workers have been infected and nearly 20,000 deaths have occurred in nursing homes, the authors said.
Health experts have pointed to a series of mistakes, including poor coordination between Madrid and regional governments.
An aging population, vulnerable groups facing health and social inequalities and “a lack of preparation in retirement homes” were also cited.
“These problems were exacerbated by the effects of a decade of austerity that had exhausted the health workforce and reduced the capacity of the public health and the health system,” said the authors.
One signatory, public health professor Ildefonso Hernandez Aguado, said a lack of trained research staff allowed the disease to spread invisibly.
“Some areas did not understand this was the key in the months after the lockdown and in the long term,” he said.
Aguado stressed that authorities should start hiring and training new staff as soon as possible.
He also pointed out the very social culture of Spain: “It is a country which does not understand to organize a party, or to take vacations if you are not going to share them”.