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Costa's hotels set to close, leaving 12,000 people unemployed

The Málaga Golf parador closed on Monday morning.
The Málaga Golf parador closed on Monday morning. / ÑITO SALAS
  • Forty-four establishments in the area have already ceased activity with the majority of tourists leaving the area on Monday and few expected to arrive any time soon

From now until the end of the week, employers and trade unions are considering closing practically all hotels on the Costa del Sol. As a result, some 12,000 people will become unemployed. This is the first major consequence of the coronavirus crisis on the local tourism industry.

Forty-four establishments on the Costa (of a total of 220 in the whole of Andalucía) have already ceased activity after several guests were moved to other hotels that had higher occupancy, according to the president of the Federation of Hotel Employers of Andalucía, Luis Callejón Suñé.

However, with Monday's exodus to the area's airport, it is now only a matter of days until the 500 hotel establishments, which total 78,000 beds and employ about 12,000 workers in a month like March, will close.

Hostels and aparthotels push the total up to 854 lodgings, with more than 100,000 beds and around 14,000 workers, according to data provided by the head of CC OO, Lola Villalba, who believes that Tuesday will signal the start of mass temporary stoppage notices (ERTE) being issued.

Villalba said that she believed that most of these ERTEs would remain in place until June.

"It is an exercise in responsibility in the face of the situation we are experiencing," she said, calling on the sector not to take advantage of the situation to cut staff.

For his part, Callejón Suñé said that this first list has already been sent to the vice-president of the Junta de Andalucía and Minister for Tourism, Juan Marín. The region's other provinces are following suit with Granada leading the ranking, with 70 establishments closed, followed by Jaén (56), Malaga (44), Cordoba (30), Almeria (22), Cadiz and Cordoba (20 each), and Seville (17).

Among these establishments that are already closed are the two paradors in Malaga (Gibralfaro and Málaga Golf), which closed on Monday morning.

The state-owned chain has indicated that its establishments had been "made available to the authorities for medical use or any other need arising from the situation".

As well as offering refunds or date changes, managers said that "surplus food from its more than one hundred restaurants will be donated to social entities".

According to Villalba, the concern is shared by employers and employees though concedes there is little else that can be done in a situation which has left the destination without tourists.