From bar shots to COVID shots, Benidorm beckons with vaccinations

·2-min read

By Oscar Corrons and Eva Manez

BENIDORM, Spain (Reuters) - The Spanish beach resort of Benidorm, famous for its vibrant nightlife and especially popular with British partygoers, has opened a COVID-19 vaccination centre specifically for tourists as cases surge along with arrival numbers.

The clinic close to the hotel district was drawing queues of tourists this week and further mobile vaccination points will be set up in areas where big crowds gather.

"I think this sends a message of safety," Benidorm mayor Antonio Perez told Reuters. "This is a public service we want to extend to our tourists."

Spain requires all visitors entering the country to present either a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test. Bars and restaurants do not require vaccine passports, as is the case in many European cities.

Benidorm's COVID cases are significantly higher than the national average, with 249 cases per 100,000 confirmed over a rolling 14-day period, compared to 96 cases nationally, or the 101 cases for the Valencian region in which Benidorm lies.

Rosa Louis, manager of the health district that includes Benidorm, said the return of tourists had played a part.

"We don't have proper data on the rise of the infections (in Benidorm), but we have noticed that as soon as tourists came back, infections rose too, that is without question," she said.

Toni Mayor, head of Valencia's HOSBEC hotel association, said while most hotel guests were vaccinated, some people were lax in wearing masks.

"We have to keep reminding the British put their masks back on," he told Reuters. "Some of them get confused because in Britain you don't have to wear one."

Spain's crucial tourism industry has been getting to its feet in recent months, with visitor numbers increasing more than four-fold in September from the previous year.

The government hopes Spain will recover two thirds of its pre-pandemic levels in the fourth quarter of this year.

(Additional reporting by Nathan Allen, writing by Emma Pinedo, editing by Nick Macfie)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting