The mayor of Benidorm accuses British television channel ITV of trying to damage the city’s image as a tourist destination
Mayor Manuel Pérez Fenoll, has denounced ITV for ‘trying to damage the touristic image of the city’ with its plans to air a programme today about crime in the city and robberies suffered by British tourists on holiday there. The programme which will be aired at peak viewing time gives information on attacks on British tourists during their stay in Benidorm as well as the burglaries of properties owned by British residents.
In a statement made to the Spanish media yesterday, Benidorm’s mayor claimed that there were ‘dark interests’ behind the programme which, in his view, aimed to damage Benidorm’s reputation. He said that he believed that it was also aimed at ‘diverting the large flow of British tourists to other destinations’. With regards to the contents of the programme the mayor said that it contained “lies and inaccuracies” and offered a “false reality“.
He also claimed that Benidorm was one of the ‘safest tourist destinations in the world’.
According to Pérez Fenoll ‘people here are not afraid to walk the streets at night, something which the five million tourists that visit us every year know’. However, the programme on Benidorm, due to be aired on ITV this evening, talks about organized gangs from Eastern Europe and also British tourists who have lost their lives on the streets of Benidorm.
The mayor said that the programme was a new attack on Benidorm in an attempt to bring down the reputation of the city. Nevertheless, he also announced that he will be meeting the heads of police to analyze the situation and adopt measures if seen to be necessary in the climate of insecurity felt by the foreign community.
Pérez Fenoll spoke out against ITV back in December last year when filming in the city was taking place. His declarations provoked a backlash from British residents who started their own petition to show their agreement with the accusation that crime in the city had increased.
According to the town hall this feeling of insecurity does not correspond with reality. Local government sources assure residents that burglaries have gone down by 50% over the last four years.