A closed hotel dining room. / SALVADOR SALAS

Coronavirus uncertainty accelerates winter closure of Costa de Sol hotels

Guests booking hotel accommodation in Andalucía, with meals included, are now required to produce a Covid passport at check-in

PILAR MARTÍNEZ

Worldwide uncertainty about the coronavirus pandemic, in the middle of the Christmas season, has hit hotel bookings hard on the Costa del Sol and accelerated the closure of premises for the winter.

The hoteliers association on the Costa, Aehcos, has pointed out that the Covid-19 restrictions in Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands are already having an effect, slowing down the arrival of international tourists and leading to the cancellation of reservations. In fact, the association points out that there are hotels that did not plan to stop operating in winter and that are now considering closing.

Aehcos points out that there are 69 hotels that have already closed their doors, which represents 20.9% of the total, adding up to almost 30,000 beds, that is, some 35.8% of the total offer.

Dinner cancellations

Hoteliers are also being hit hard by Christmas and New Year Eve party cancellations as businesses and individuals become nervous about the spread of infections, following some well publicised cases. In November Aehcos pointed to the high demand for Christmas lunches and New Year's Eve dinners, which some establishments are now considering cancelling, after these had been hailed as a saviour following a difficult year.

Covid passport

Also, from Monday, 20 December, hotels in Andalucía were obliged, by the Junta, to start requesting a Covid passport from guests at check-in if they had booked meals as part of their stay.

The latest Covid-19 passport order in Official Gazette of the Junta de Andalucía (BOJA) includes all hotel establishments with restaurant services when the traveller has booked breakfast, half or full board. In the case of the Malaga city, almost 70% of customers book accommodation with breakfast.