A new method of classifying hotel categories through a points system, which will include five-star and top luxury establishments, has recently been approved by decree by the regional government.
Juan Marín, vice-president of the Junta and minister for Tourism, says the sector has been waiting a long time for this regulation to come into force, and that it "will enable hotels to compete in conditions which are more in line with 21st-century tourism".
He explains that the new system involves points being awarded in accordance with the facilities and services provided by each hotel, and says it offers security for clients. The number of points will be determined through standard measures and by evaluating quality and social and environmental factors, as well as a range of complementary services, and it will apply to five-star and top luxury hotels, although originally this was not the intention.
The hotels will still have stars, as they do at present, but they will have to meet different criteria to be awarded them.
The new regulation will mean that establishments can move up in category if they improve their facilities. "We can't let this opportunity slip by, especially at a time like this when Andalucía needs to reform its hotel sector and improve in order to come out of this crisis," says Marín.
The Junta insists that this regulation was important for attracting investment: "We are not in a situation to reject these investments. We are aware that there are major hotel chains who have been waiting for this move before investing in Andalucía." The new system is not obligatory and there will be a five-year period in which to join it, although some hotel groups appear ready to make the necessary changes this year and next. There will be five types of establishment: hoteles, apartamentos, hostales, pensiones and albergues.
Marín says this decree is of major importance for a sector which drives the regional economy and is currently paralysed because of the Covid-19 crisis.