Hotel occupancy figures have improved for July. / sur

Costa hoteliers revise their forecasts upwards and now expect July to be better than in 2019

Businesses are warning of a recent slowdown in international tourism although demand from visitors from elsewhere in Spain is increasing to counteract it

Pilar Martínez
PILAR MARTÍNEZ

A flurry of last-minute bookings, despite the strikes by Ryanair and easyJet cabin crew, have led the Costa del Sol Hotel Association (Aehcos) to revise its forecasts for July, as its members now believe bookings will be higher than in the same month in 2019, which was a record year for tourism in Malaga province.

“There is reason to feel optimistic, especially as last year only 58% of hotel rooms were booked,” Aehcos president José Luque said, “and the figures this month have improved considerably. We thought occupancy would be around 78% but it will be higher thanks to late bookings”.

The forecasts for August and September have also improved since Aehcos announced its figures a few days ago. In August the occupancy rate is now expected to be 81.7%, which is eight points below the same month in 2019 but a great improvement on last year’s figure of 62%.

In September the sector is expecting occupancy to be lower than hoped, at 77%, but one positive aspect is that the percentage of international visitors has risen from 60% to 65%. As the occupancy rate in September 2019 was 86.7% the sector has not fully recovered yet, but it is still higher than the 50% last year.

Slowdown in international tourism

Despite the overall optimism, the hoteliers are warning of a recent slowdown in international tourism, and have lowered their expected rate of travellers from abroad to 60% from 70%, although demand from visitors from elsewhere in Spain is increasing to counteract it.

The strikes by Ryanair and easyJet cabin crew have had an impact on overseas travel, as they are the first and third airlines respectively in terms of passenger figures at Malaga airport.

The most popular destinations in Malaga province for visitors from other countries are Marbella, Torremolinos, Nerja with 87.7%, Fuengirola, Malaga city, Benalmádena and the Axarquía region.