The emblematic Hotel Pez Espada in Torremolinos / sur

Torremolinos hotels had the highest occupancy levels in the province this summer

The picture inland is very different from the coast, with towns such as Ronda and Antequera missing the tourists from long-haul destinations

Pilar Martínez

The Costa del Sol town which has always been a pioneer in tourism, Torremolinos, had the highest hotel occupancy levels in Malaga province this summer, according to figures from the Aehcos hotel association. The average of 93% of rooms occupied during the peak tourist season reflects the resilience of a resort which has fought hard to recover from the pandemic. In 2021, when some restrictions on international travel still applied, other places on the Costa del Sol reported better figures, but now Torremolinos has overtaken them again.

The president of MS Hotels, Miguel Sánchez, who owns three establishments with a total of more than 600 beds in Torremolinos, has said there were more tourists from other parts of Spain this year, and the number of Dutch visitors also increased considerably.

The outlook for the rest of the year is also positive, although bookings are not expected to be as high as in the summer and the prices are lower. “October has got off to a good start and we are expecting decent occupancy levels in November. We’re only concerned about December and January,” Sánchez said. Two of his three hotels in Torremolinos – MS Aguamarina and MS Tropicana – are to close for a couple of months in the winter.

Positive occupancy figures for coastal resorts

For Malaga province in general, Aehcos says average occupancy was 87.16%, which is about 1.07 percentage points higher than in the same period in 2019. However, Nerja, Malaga city, Fuengirola, Benalmádena and Marbella reported higher levels this summer, and this month Torremolinos is expected to top the list with 81.27%, followed by Fuengirola, Mijas, Malaga city and Nerja with 75%.

In November, the number of bookings so far is much lower, with Malaga and Fuengirola reporting 65% of capacity.

Different picture inland

The picture is very different away from the coast, where areas such as Ronda, Antequera and the Guadalhorce Valley are missing visitors from long-haul destinations such as the USA, Japan, China, South Korea, Canada and others. Hotels in Antequera ended the summer with an average occupancy rate of 36%, and in Ronda at 47%.

With uncertainty over the future, inflation and rising energy costs, Aehcos also pointed out that occupancy levels in coastal areas may have been positive but in general profits are falling. It said the sector has faced problems in finding staff and some hoteliers have struggled to make ends meet because raw materials and electricity have become so expensive.