Spain holidays: Costa Blanca president warns ‘buy gifts early’ in bleak Christmas outlook

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The Costa Blanca, located in the province of Alicante in the Valencian Community is usually a popular destination all year round with Britons. With temperatures still peaking at around 18C to 20C, it’s the perfect spot for a Christmas break. However, this year, with coronavirus restrictions in place and rules on entering and exiting specific areas, Christmas could look a little different on the Costa Blanca.

Now, regional president of Valencia, Ximo Puig has warned to expect restrictions over the Christmas holidays.

Mr Puig revealed that there would be restrictions on the amount of people that will be allowed to gather together over Christmas either as families or for parties.

He also said that a decision on the exact number will be finalised in the second week of December.

The lack of clarification is likely to frustrate holidaymakers who are planning to visit family or friends over the Christmas holidays in the region.

The regional president said there will not be “celebrations as normal” in a bleak outlook for residents and visitors.

He added: “We have to see what happens with infections over the next few weeks.”

He also suggested that people should buy their Christmas presents early to avoid overcrowding in shops.

Spain has put a national working group together to try and see if the whole country can have roughly the same measures in place over Christmas.

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The only exceptions will be those with higher infection rates which is likely to be areas in Madrid and Catalonia which have recorded the most cases.

The region is scheduled to finish its night curfew and border closure on December 9 which could see visitors return to the towns and cities.

Mr Puig said: “Christmas will be different this year”, he said.

“But I believe the important thing is not how we celebrate it but that we still feel the emotions of the time of year.”

The city of Benidorm has been one of the hardest hit areas on the Costa Blanca.

Bars, hotels and restaurants have all struggled financially this year due to a lack of international tourists, especially from the UK.

Hosbec, a Valencian Hotel Association which represents hotels in Benidorm has released data based on hotel occupancy in Benidorm.

The association revealed that Benidorm’s occupancy for the first half of November was 21.4 percent.

Benidorm currently only has ten hotels open in the city which is 8.7 percent of its accommodation capacity.

Benidorm bar and restaurant owner Simon Barker exclusively told Express.co.uk that a lot of bar owners haven’t had business since March 13 when the Spanish government told businesses to close.

Some businesses have since been able to open, however, there are stringent capacity rules in place along with rules on opening hours.

Mr Barker said: “For a lot of people they’ve had no business since March 13.

“This is continuing and think will continue – hopefully not until Christmas – but I think until March next year.

“They could be going for a whole year without any income at all – and no help. Or very little help.”

He added: “It’s been very hard and Benidorm seems to have been hit harder than most other resorts.”

Currently, Spain is on the UK’s quarantine list which means Britons have to self-isolate for 14 days on their return to the UK.

England is in lockdown until December 2 which means Britons currently cannot travel within the UK or abroad.

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