Jose Maria Caballe says Benidorm needs to drop the low-cost image once the Covid-19 pandemic is over.
Mr Caballe, who owns 18 hotels and has won more than 350 awards, feels the ‘cheap and cheerful’ theme long associated with the area – mainly for boozed up Brits and northern Europeans – needs to be changed and feels during the current climate that Benidorm cannot cope with low prices.
He said: “We can’t cater for low-level clientele to get drunk for three days. This doesn’t happen in a modern country.
“Benidorm has to change because the costs are going up and hotels can’t work with such low prices.
“The pandemic has been like a decisive punch to a boxer already on the ropes. The popular market will never return to the same level.
“When the market recovers there will be demand for more quality.” Mr Caballe, who owns 18 hotels, said the town’s future held lessons for tourism in Spain, which brings in 12% of the nation’s GDP.
He said: “During the 1970s, 80s and 90s the standard of living in Spain was very low. People put up with noise and drunkenness because they needed to.”
Benidorm is Spain’s fourth most popular destination, after Barcelona, Madrid and San Bartolome de Tirajana in Gran Canaria.
Benidorm attracts 16.2 million tourists per year with 7 million of those being British.
However, the numbers have dwindled due to the pandemic causing economic failure across the region.
Mr Caballe – who won the Gold and Silver Award from the Alicante Chamber of Commerce and is president of Servigroup Hotels finished: “People came to enjoy Benidorm, its night barbecues, excursions, parties, discos. We had services of great quality.
“We should return to that spirit, to promote the whole area, with its potential for sports, visits to nearby mountain villages, for food, wine and culture.
“We have to offer more than sun, beaches and cheap alcohol.”
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