Spain tourism: Ibiza's empty streets & Benidorm's beach booking system
Ibiza’s streets lie eerily empty while Brits are told to book sunbathing slots on Benidorm’s beach and a fresh outbreak near Barcelona plunges 160,000 people back into lockdown
- Ibiza’s popular attractions have been snapped eerily deserted as the party island’s summer season starts
- Meanwhile, soaring demand for Benidorm’s beaches has led the town’s mayor to institute a booking system
- It comes as the Catalonia region locks down the city of Lleida after a worrying surge in coronavirus infections
These pictures show how Ibiza’s normally thriving streets are lying eerily empty amid a sharp drop in tourism during the coronavirus pandemic.
The images show shops with their shutters down, nightclubs with no revellers and restaurants with no diners on the party island, which is usually packed-full of tourists for its summer season.
Supermarkets along the longest beach, Playa d’en Bossa, which is home to some of the island’s most popular clubs, are closed, as were the Amnesia and Privelige nightclubs last night.
In stark contrast, in the mainland tourism hotspot of Benidorm, overcrowding at the 1.3-mile Levante beach has prompted city officials to order sunbathers to pre-book their places with effect from Friday.
Meanwhile in Spain’s Catalonia region some 160,000 people returned to confinement today as authorities scrambled to control a fresh surge of coronavirus infections in the area, just weeks after the country’s nationwide lockdown was lifted.
View of an empty street and closed restaurants yesterday in Ibiza, Spain. Summer season has kicked off in Ibiza, albeit with far fewer tourists due to the coronavirus outbreak
View of closed ‘Amnesia’ night club on July 14, 2020 in Ibiza, Spain. Summer season has kicked off in Ibiza, albeit with far fewer tourists due to the coronavirus outbreak
View of closed ‘Ushuaia’ Beach Hotel and Club and ‘Hi’ night club empty car park yesterday in Ibiza, Spain
The images show shops with their shutters down, nightclubs with no revellers and restaurants with no diners on the party island, which is usually packed-full of tourists for its summer season
People visit the 1.3-mile-long Levante beach in the Spanish south-eastern town of Benidorm, March 31, 2015
Tourism-dependent Spain, one of Europe’s hardest-hit countries with more than 28,000 deaths from the pandemic, brought a tough national lockdown to an end on June 21.
Since then, more than 170 clusters have sprung up, prompting regional authorities to impose a patchwork of local restrictions, confusing locals and angering businesses.
However, in Benidormg Levante beach has become so popular since the coronavirus lockdown was lifted that the town’s mayor, Toni Pérez says the new booking system has to swing into action
As yet, however, there will be no time restrictions. Sunbathers can book their slot for the entire day or just the morning or afternoon.
The other two beaches of Poniente and Mal Pas don’t need pre-booking – you just turn up with your possessions and will be shown to your square of sand. To cater for more people, all three beaches will be open later until 9.30pm and access points have been expanded to 39.
Benidorm Mayor Toni Perez said of the planned beach place booking: ‘Starting on Friday, the 17th, it will be necessary to reserve a plot to spend a day at Levante beach.
‘For this purpose, this Thursday, July 16th, at noon the web booking platform included in the Benidorm Beach Safety project will be activated, which will allow users to choose the area, plot and time (day complete, morning or afternoon).’
He then directed sun-seekers to complete a reservation form at www.benidormbeachsafety.es/, which will send them an email link to download their ‘passbook’ to be checked at the beach’s entry point.
View of an empty street and closed shops and restaurants yesterday in Ibiza, Spain. Meanwhile, demand for sun loungers is so high in Benidorm that the mayor has instituted a booking system for sunbathers
View of empty street and closed restaurant yesterday in Ibiza, Spain. Summer season has kicked off in Ibiza, albeit with far fewer tourists due to the coronavirus outbreak
View of closed ‘Privilege’ night club yesterday in Ibiza, Spain. While Ibiza looks a ghost town, elsewhere in Catalonia 160,000 people have reentered lockdown as cases rise in the autonomous region
‘There will also be three physical points of attention and information in El Torrejó building and on the promenade at the height of Europa Avenue and Rincón de Loix where, in addition to resolve incidents, those who do not have the resources or technological accessibility may also make their reservation,’ he added.
Since opening on June 15th, Benidorm’s beaches have already seen more than 381,000 people with daily peaks above 29,000. The beaches used to take three times as many people but limits have been put in place because of the coronavirus safety regulations.
The mayor said Levante was proving the most popular stretch, hence the new booking system which can be used to reserve slots either from noon on the same day or any time for the following day.
If the sunbather just wants a part of the day, morning shifts are from 9am to 3pm and afternoon ones from 3pm to 9.30pm.
The intention, he says, is to make Benidorm’s beaches the safest in Europe.
Thousands of Catalans return to lockdown as Spain fights new virus clusters
In Catalonia, a judge finally approved the regional government’s stay-at-home order for residents of the city of Lleida and six nearby towns on Tuesday night after several days of legal wrangling and political tensions over the issue.
Under the new rules, people may only leave their homes for essential activities like working or buying supplies, while hotels, restaurants and bars will close except for food pick-up or delivery.
Regional authorities have also encouraged the residents of three neighbourhoods in L’Hospitalet, a Barcelona suburb that is home to around 260,000, to stay home, but that’s not a mandatory confinement.
Sanitary personnel receive patients at a provisional hospital at Prat de la Riba in Lleida, Catalonia, Spain yesterday
Another judge refused to rubber stamp a proposed restriction on gatherings of more than 10 people there.
After more than 28,000 deaths from the pandemic, Spain’s government ended a nationwide lockdown on June 21, considering it had dealt with the worst of the virus as the number of contagions had ground to a near halt.
But since then, more than 170 clusters have sprung up around Spain, prompting regional authorities to impose a patchwork of local restrictions, confusing locals and angering businesses.
While Catalonia, which is Spain’s second-most populous region, is the first to return its citizens to home confinement, parts of Galicia have been sealed off to visitors and the Basque town of Ordizia imposed a curfew to tackle their own outbreaks.
And, following Catalonia’s lead, a string of regions introduced compulsory mask use at all times, regardless of whether social-distancing can be guaranteed. In the southern Andalusia region, the restriction even applies to beachgoers.
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