Spanish holidaymaker explains exactly what to expect abroad

Face masks, no excess soft furnishings, ornaments and pictures ditched and every single item cleaned and disinfected before your visit.

This is what a British expat who runs a hotel in Spain says you can expect if you’re flying out for a lockdown holiday in the country.

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Robert Webster, 52, originally from Cheltenham, his wife Annabelle, 50, and children Carla, 25, and Emily, 17, run Hotel Arce in Baiona, Galicia.

They’re re-opening their doors for a very different tourist season – but Robert believes holidaying Brits will have a better time than ever as he explained exactly what to expect.

It comes as the UK government will this week give the green light to foreign holidays as it lifts its 14 day quarantine restriction on arrivals from parts of Europe.

Over the weekend, travel websites crashed after families hunted for bargain breaks abroad as Spanish tourist bosses face a race against time to open thousands of hotels after the surge in bookings.

“We have one message to British tourists, and that is this: You can have a fantastic holiday, so get over here to Spain now…but make sure you pack your face masks,” he said.

“There’s going to be a new normal when we fully reopen, but people coming to Spain will probably have a better holiday than any other year.

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“For there’s been so much attention to detail in all the good restaurants and hotels.

“And people are genuinely excited to be opening their doors again.”

Passengers will be  expected to wear a mask at the airports  and on board flights, as well as being encouraged to check in luggage in order to stop the spread of the virus, under government guidance.

While Brits arriving in the likes of holiday hotspot Benidorm  will be met with miles of empty sands, will be expected to wear face coverings on the promenade and stick to social distancing rules.

And nightclubbers  must wear masks and dance in their own squares, with DJs confined to personal booths, according to proposed rules by Nightlife Spain.

Robert admitted the past few months have been “tough” but said they started the season with bookings right “through to the first week of March”.

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“While we were aware what was going on across the world, it didn’t seem to be affecting us,” he continued.

“But on March 13 the city went into lockdown and we had 70 cancellations – for a 14-room hotel.

“We’ve been thinking how we are going to survive financially and have taken out a huge loan.

“Now there’s new tight protocols, nationally and regionally.

“We’ve removed all excess soft furnishings and replaced all decorative items, like pictures and ornaments.

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“We’ve made more room in the reception so people can keep further apart and when a customer leaves, every single thing in their room will be washed and disinfected.”

From last Monday, Robert was able to open his doors to Spanish guests, with the first family arriving that morning.

“It was absolutely lovely to see people here again. And it’s also given us a chance to practice the new cleaning protocols!”

He went on to say: “For tourists, the only major difference will be having to wear a face mask when around other people. You can be fined 100 Euros if you don’t.

“But as long as you do that, you’re very welcome. And there is nothing to stop you having a fantastic holiday and a relaxing time. Come to Spain!” he added.

But the vast majority of hotels in Spain’s holiday resorts are still boarded-up and empty in the wake of Covid-19.

They now have to restock bars and restaurants, rehire staff and prepare pools and bedrooms for guests.

And visitors arriving in the country this week may struggle to find accommodation if they have not booked ahead.

Raul Gonzalez, boss of the Barcelo hotel chain, the second biggest in Spain, has warned many of its rooms will not reopen until next year.

Around 30% of the firm’s 73 Spanish hotels are open, although more will start welcoming guests in the coming weeks.

Mr González said: “There are hotels that we will not open until October and there will be others that we will not open at all.”

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Spanish tourist chiefs have also threatened to impose another ban on foreign holidaymakers if there is a surge in Covid-19 cases.

The warning came just a week after the country opened its borders to European travellers.

In recent days there have been 50 new outbreaks of the virus across the mainland and on the Canary and Balearic Islands.

Patricia Gomez, the health minister for Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, said yesterday: “If we have an important outbreak among tourists this summer, we may have to consider closing the island again.”

She added: “I am concerned there will be more cases during the holiday season.”


1 thought on “Spanish holidaymaker explains exactly what to expect abroad”

  1. I recommend that Tourists Boycott Spain.
    There is little point to the measures now being imposed – you’re treated without respect as if your a disease carrying leper and face fines for any slip ups.

    Avoid coming to Spain its not worth it.


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