Fighting over sun loungers and waking up at the crack of dawn to secure a prime spot on the beach could become a thing of the past, as Spain looks to introduce new ways to prevent overcrowding on its beaches. Britons travelling to the European country could be made to reserve spaces on the beach using a new mobile phone app, to ensure social distancing is adhered to during the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the plans, tourists wanting to spend time on the beach will have to first check that there is a spot available via the app, before reserving an area.
The app will alert the user if particular sections of the beach are overcrowded, to ensure social distancing measures can be carried out.
A number of holiday hotspots in the Canary Islands and on the Spanish mainland have already adopted the new method of controlling the crowds and ensuring people can stay apart.
One system that has recently been launched in Majorca, Madrid and the Canaries is being led by Natare 360, a Spanish company which has experience organising events and managing ticket sales.
The booking portal created by the company will calculate the capacity of beaches and allow visitors to reserve places for their towels.
They say it will work for tourists of all nationalities as well as for locals.
Felipe Menendez, spokesman and coordinator of Natare 360, told local newspaper Diario de Mallorca: “First, we digitise the beaches of the municipalities.
“We calculate the capacity with the measurements of the beaches.
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“When they enter the web, a traffic light will inform them of the availability.
“It does not take long in advance to book.”
Nature 360 has also proposed sectioning of the beach into different groups, such as families with young children, adults, and people aged over 65.
This is shown in a model of a beach of the Balearic island of Majorca, where the beach is divided into five sections.
Mr Menendez told Newsflash: “The image was done on a beach in the north of Majorca, it is a 500-metre (1,640-foot) long beach, and we recommend creating five areas with a capacity for 300 people each based on the indications of the Health Ministry.
“This distribution also allows us to segment the zones by the type of visitor.”
Similar apps are being launched across Spain, as the country begins to reopen its beaches as lockdown measures are eased.
The booking system may even become the new norm, as social distancing rules are set to stay for many months to come.
Spain will reopen its borders to international tourists from July 1.
It is unclear when Britons will be able to travel, however, as citizens coming to the UK will face a 14-day quarantine from next month.