Businesses providing luxury goods and services in Marbella have reported an end to the steep growth in sales seen in the last few years.
Owners of designer boutiques, restaurants, clubs, hotels or firms offering leisure experiences say that their figures for June and July have been worse than those of 2017, but were hoping that an increase in August would save the season.
They blame the recovery of other Mediterranean destinations for the slump, saying that the increasing prices on the Costa del Sol have pushed tourists to swap the Golden Mile of the south of Spain for Turkey or Egypt without thinking twice about it. The World Cup has also been put forward as a reason for slow reservations in June and July.
Javier Sarceda, the manager of aBoatHire, a firm that rents out yachts in Puerto Banús, Sotogrande and Estepona, describes this as a "strange" summer, with 40% fewer reservations in July and more than usual in September.
Hotels in the resort also report uneven results. "July was down on last year, but in August we're doing OK," said the vice-president of the hoteliers' association Aehcos in Marbella, Fernando Al Farkh. As well as the reappearance of other Mediterranean destinations he also blamed the use of private holiday homes and the insufficient infrastructure "affecting the balance in demand and sustainability [of Marbella] as a quality destination", he said.
"Quality," he said, "must justify our higher prices compared with those of our competitors."