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Buckets of beers and lobster-pink sun worshippers reappear in Benidorm as travel restrictions eased

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Sun-starved Britons are flooding back to Benidorm with the familiar sight of lager bottles and pink-skinned holidaymakers reappearing in the Costa Blanca hotspot following the easing of UK travel restrictions. 

The Spanish town’s famous Little England area is buzzing again after months of misery caused by the curbs on travel linked to the pandemic. 

Some hotels catering for British tourists have reopened for the first time in more than a year. 

It comes as new rules intended to make travel ‘easier and cheaper’ came into force today, with fully vaccinated Britons no longer needing a test before flying back.

The traffic light system involving green, amber and red designations for every country is now scrapped, with locations categorised as either on the red list or not.

The mobility scooters made famous by the ITV series of the same are becoming a familiar sight again on Benidorm as Britons flood back to the popular resort town

The Spanish town's famous Little England area is buzzing again after months of misery caused by the curbs on travel linked to the pandemic

The Spanish town’s famous Little England area is buzzing again after months of misery caused by the curbs on travel linked to the pandemic

New rules intended to make travel 'easier and cheaper' came into force today, with fully vaccinated Britons no longer needing a test before flying back, as holidaymakers make the most of the rules by flocking to Benidorm to enjoy beers in the sun

New rules intended to make travel ‘easier and cheaper’ came into force today, with fully vaccinated Britons no longer needing a test before flying back, as holidaymakers make the most of the rules by flocking to Benidorm to enjoy beers in the sun

The popular strip is returning to its former glory with Britons parading down Mallorca Street to top up their tans as the UK braces for autumn weather

The popular strip is returning to its former glory with Britons parading down Mallorca Street to top up their tans as the UK braces for autumn weather

Bars and nightspots in places like Mallorca Street in the heart of Benidorm are making the most of the influx and calling in staff furloughed at the height of the health crisis. 

Holidaymakers have been taking advantage of the Spanish sunshine and temperatures expected to peak at 25 degrees Celsius this week, to top up their tans and enjoy a cold pint on an outdoor terraces. 

The mobility scooters made famous by the ITV series of the same are becoming a familiar sight again. 

Package tour holiday coaches packed with new Brit arrivals were busy ferrying them from Alicante Airport to their Benidorm hotels.  

Figures released by local hotel association Hosbec at the start of September showed the percentage of British holidaymakers staying in town had jumped to just over 11 per cent of the total from around just five per cent earlier in the summer. 

Today, holidaymakers were taking advantage of the Spanish sunshine and temperatures expected to peak at 25 degrees Celsius this week

Today, holidaymakers were taking advantage of the Spanish sunshine and temperatures expected to peak at 25 degrees Celsius this week

Sun-starved Britons are flooding back to Benidorm with the regular sight of lager bottles and topless holidaymakers reappearing in the Costa Blanca hotspot

Sun-starved Britons are flooding back to Benidorm with the regular sight of lager bottles and topless holidaymakers reappearing in the Costa Blanca hotspot

Package tour holiday coaches packed with new Brit arrivals were busy ferrying them from Alicante Airport to their Benidorm hotels today

Package tour holiday coaches packed with new Brit arrivals were busy ferrying them from Alicante Airport to their Benidorm hotels today

The resort town is expecting a surge in visits from British holidaymakers in the wake of the relaxation of travel rules which came into force today

The resort town is expecting a surge in visits from British holidaymakers in the wake of the relaxation of travel rules which came into force today

A British tourist stands in his patriotic swimming shorts at the Hotel Ambassador Playa in the sun as the coastal town seeks to revive its economy

A British tourist stands in his patriotic swimming shorts at the Hotel Ambassador Playa in the sun as the coastal town seeks to revive its economy

They ended up attributing for 16 per cent of the total in September, down on the normal figure of 40 per cent of the tourists in town at this time of the year, but the highest percentage since March last year. 

The overhaul of the UK traffic light system and scrapping of fit-to-fly and day eight tests for double-jabbed tourists is expected to lead to a surge in the number of Brits jetting to Benidorm for some autumn sunshine.  

Alex Fratini, a member of Benidorm bar and restaurant association Abreca said: ‘Many businesses have reopened after many months closed because the Brits have started to return. 

‘Bars are hiring staff and that’s a good sign.’ 

Association president Javier del Castillo told local paper Diario Informacion: ‘Businesses are reopening and opening for longer. ‘We hope this continues and more Brits come.’ 

Hosbec president Toni Mayor said today: ‘The situation has improved dramatically. 

Figures released by local hotel association Hosbec at the start of September showed the percentage of British holidaymakers staying in town had jumped to just over 11 per cent of the total

Figures released by local hotel association Hosbec at the start of September showed the percentage of British holidaymakers staying in town had jumped to just over 11 per cent of the total

The overhaul of the UK traffic light system and scrapping of fit-to-fly and day eight tests for double-jabbed tourists is expected to lead to a surge

The overhaul of the UK traffic light system and scrapping of fit-to-fly and day eight tests for double-jabbed tourists is expected to lead to a surge

The current level of British tourists in Benidorm is at its highest since March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic brought the travel industry to a standstill

The current level of British tourists in Benidorm is at its highest since March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic brought the travel industry to a standstill

From the end of October, Britons will no longer be required to take a PCR test on day two of their arrival in England - just a lateral flow test

From the end of October, Britons will no longer be required to take a PCR test on day two of their arrival in England – just a lateral flow test

‘There’s a British atmosphere in Benidorm which reminds me of the atmosphere of old before the pandemic struck. 

‘Around 20 per cent of the holidaymakers in town at the moment are now British and with the other 20 per cent who’ll hopefully return now the restrictions have been eased, we’ll be back to the way things were three years ago. 

‘We’re hopeful that’s going to happen. All the bars and cafes in the Little England area are open and doing good business because they’re packed. 

‘We think the number of Brits holidaying here will rise rapidly and there could be a massive surge. 

‘It looks like it’s going to be a good autumn and a good winter, possibly the best winter we’ve had for the last few years. 

‘We know the Brits want to come to Benidorm and with the lifting of restrictions, that’s obviously going to encourage them to get on planes.’ 

At the start of the summer many of the streets which were traditionally thronging with British holidaymakers in the Little England area were deserted with rubbish gathering in the doorways of the best-known nightspots

At the start of the summer many of the streets which were traditionally thronging with British holidaymakers in the Little England area were deserted with rubbish gathering in the doorways of the best-known nightspots

Benidorm's famous entertainers had admitted they were playing to tiny crowds as Brits stayed away before Covid travel rules were relaxed

Benidorm’s famous entertainers had admitted they were playing to tiny crowds as Brits stayed away before Covid travel rules were relaxed

From the end of October, Britons will no longer be required to take a PCR test on day two of their arrival in England – just a lateral flow test. 

If the lateral flow test is positive, they will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test at no additional cost. 

At the start of the summer many of the streets which were traditionally thronging with British holidaymakers in the Little England area were deserted with rubbish gathering in the doorways of the best-known nightspots. 

Benidorm’s famous entertainers had admitted they were playing to tiny crowds as Brits stayed away before Covid travel rules were relaxed and double-jabbed Brits were given the green light to go to Spain without having to quarantine on their return. 

Benidorm mayor Toni Perez admitted in June his hopes of seeing a flood of British tourists in the early part of the summer had been dented after it emerged the UK government had opted against giving the Costa Blanca preferential treatment under the traffic light travel system that was still in place. 

Mr Perez said after a meeting with Britain’s Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott in June: ‘We can announce a summer which is very linked to national tourism. 

‘Our hope is that we can begin to receive British tourists at the end of July and start of August in the run-up to an autumn we hope will take place with the maximum normality possible. 

The easing of the quarantine and testing regulations – announced last month – has been welcomed by the travel sector

The easing of the quarantine and testing regulations – announced last month – has been welcomed by the travel sector

Airlines and tour operators have been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic, and have accused the Government of being too slow to relax and simplify the rules for international travel

Airlines and tour operators have been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic, and have accused the Government of being too slow to relax and simplify the rules for international travel

‘Our concern has long been when we can open up to British tourism which is our main tourism market. 

‘We are working on the basis there could be an important number of people arriving from the UK in the months of July and August, August and September. 

‘We know we’re a favourite destination of the British people and there’s just as much desire in the UK for an opening of the borders so UK holidaymakers can come here as there is here in receiving them.’ 

British expats also revealed earlier this year they were relying on food banks to survive after losing jobs because of the lack of UK tourists. 

Mother-of-three Lindsey Evers and her partner Peter Chadwick had to return to Britain with two of their three children after being forced to end their sunshine dream because of their dire financial situation. 

The Government's 'red list' of 54 countries is tipped to be reduced to just nine, just in time for families travelling during the half-term break

The Government’s ‘red list’ of 54 countries is tipped to be reduced to just nine, just in time for families travelling during the half-term break

No date has been set for when eligible fully vaccinated travellers arriving in England will be able to use a cheaper lateral flow test

No date has been set for when eligible fully vaccinated travellers arriving in England will be able to use a cheaper lateral flow test

The easing of the quarantine and testing regulations – announced last month – has been welcomed by the travel sector.

Airlines and tour operators have been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic, and have accused the Government of being too slow to relax and simplify the rules for international travel.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, a trade body representing UK carriers, said: ‘Things are moving in the right direction and the removal of these restrictions will make it easier and cheaper for people to travel.

‘We’ve seen a good response to the announcement in terms of bookings and, given current trends, we would hope to see more countries come off the red list and further mutual recognition of vaccine status.

‘There is still much to do though. This is not job done, and ministers need to keep in mind that we remain an outlier on arrivals testing for vaccinated passengers.

‘In the short-term the removal of PCR testing by the October half-term week is critical, and we look forward to clarity on the start date for this as soon as possible.’

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