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Costa del Sol hoteliers ask for ERTE furlough scheme to be extended until April 2022

A tourist walks past a hotel in Malaga.
A tourist walks past a hotel in Malaga. / ÑITO SALAS
  • The hotel owners' association, Aehcos, predicts a sharp drop in occupancy rates in October and cites 'uncertainty' in the tourism sector

Hoteliers on the Costa del Sol and across Malaga province are asking for the Government's ERTE furlough scheme in the tourism sector to be extended until April 2022.

The hotel owners’ association, Aehcos, considers this measure necessary and justifies it saying that the pandemic, and the restrictions that remain in place, still do not allow a recovery that guarantees the viability of hotel establishments without having this help from the Government.

After a few months of summer trade that have been “acceptable” thanks to national tourism, the hotels in the province are facing a difficult autumn and a sharp drop in occupancy levels is expected for the month of October with a rate of 42.3 per cent, a drop of 45.4 per cent with respect to 2019, when occupancy stood at 77.6 per cent.

The president of Aehcos, José Luque, has advocated, in the face of this scenario, an expansion of the ERTE scheme. "The tourism sector has been heavily affected by this pandemic and businessmen need effective tools that allow us to mitigate the losses suffered," he said.

"It has been national tourism that has saved the summer season in Andalucía, but international markets continue not to respond as expected," said Luque.

At the end of May, the Government announced the extension of the ERTE scheme for the sector until 30 September. It was the fifth time that it expanded this coverage since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Aehcos said it sees no other way forward than a new extention. "We have to be prepared to face a few difficult months again, hence we reiterate the need to articulate measures in advance that allow employers to plan a new scenario," it said.

The hoteliers’ association has also published its forecasts for the coming months, in which there is talk of an "uncertain autumn". Occupancy for September in the province of Malaga is 57 per cent and for October the aforementioned 42.3 per cent.

If considered by municipalities, in September, Marbella leads the ranking, with a forecast of 68.8 per cent ahead of Malaga city, with 67.7 per cent. Nerja and Frigiliana are also at 67 per cent. In October the data worstens. While Marbella would be at 62.9 per cent, the Malaga city falls to 53.9 per cent and the eastern shores of the Costa del Sol to 47.8 per cent.