Tourism on the Costa del Sol is experiencing a new 'golden age' after its decline during the pandemic.
Hoteliers in Malaga recognise that 2022 was better than expected and expect a record 2023 for tourism on the Costa del Sol.
Some data has already been analysed about the occupancy that the province will endure this summer and with 100,000 flights and 146 destinations available, the expected occupancy is once again breaking records. After the pandemic, the tourism sector on the Costa del Sol hit rock bottom. The pandemic destroyed the profit and loss accounts of hotels and other tourist establishments and their survival was in doubt. Without tourists, the main source of income and business on the Costa del Sol did not exist. But tourism has resurfaced and is now enjoying a spectacular moment, a 'golden age' that has surprised the protagonists themselves.
"We could not have imagined that 2022 would have been so good and how 2023 is coming. It is mind-boggling that the macroeconomy is so bad and yet our sector is doing so well", José Luque, general manager of Fuerte Group Hotels and president of the Association of Hotel Entrepreneurs of the Costa del Sol (Aehcos) acknowledged this Wednesday in a debate held at the Ilunion Hotel in Malaga.
Luque explained that, after the pandemic, people have found it necessary to travel, to enjoy themselves, in short, to live, and that they do not want to give up travelling. "In the United Kingdom, we have been told that there are many people who are sacrificing drinking beer in order to save money and come on holiday to Spain," he said.
Patricia Rodríguez, director of the Hotel Marugal-Palacio Solecio in Málaga city, agrees. "We closed 2022 meeting the expected occupancy and we didn't think there would be such an abrupt recovery in 2023, but it's true that the year has started very strongly and has given us all that spark of encouragement to put all our eggs in the basket".
The hotel sector is enjoying a sweet moment, but there are warning signs that, if not resolved, will pose a serious problem. One of them is the difficulty of access to housing for workers. This is a phenomenon that is occurring in various parts of the world and is also beginning to worry hoteliers in Malaga. "Malaga has to make an important reflection. We have dedicated a lot of resources to promotion and now we have to think about management because destinations will be pleasant for tourists if the residents feel comfortable," said Luque, who added that "if we do not think about the quality of life of those who live here it is very difficult for us to have a destination with added value".
The president of the Malaga hoteliers stressed that "local residents are running out of housing" and gave the example of a hotel in Ibiza belonging to his group, where they have had to build a building with more than 100 beds in order to accommodate employees due to the difficulty of finding affordable flats on the island for employees. "If you have housing, you have employees and entertainers, and if you don't, you don't. We are going to have to buy flats for the employees. We are going to have to buy flats for the workers", Luque stressed.
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