The Association of Hotel Businesses of the Costa del Sol (Aehcos) said that "2022 had been, in general, a positive year" despite the fact that last year ended with an occupancy rate of 70.75%, which is "still far from the 75.62% of 2019, a reference year for the sector". In a statement, Aehcos said that 2022 started "with worrying data" in reference to the fact that the first quarter of last year closed 15% below 2019.
"On the other hand, the second quarter was slightly lower, but close to the usual figures for that time of year: April closed with 72.54% compared to 74.11% in 2019; May with 78% in both years; and June with 81.80% compared to 83.78% in 2019," Aehcos said.
The hotel association also pointed out that the upturn in 2022 coincided with the high season: July exceeded the occupancy rate for the first time since 2019 and closed the month with a rate of 86.29%; August with 88.08%; and September with 87.11%.
The last quarter, marked by summery weather, started with good occupancy rates: 81.74% in October and 64.80% in November. "However, December did not leave the desired upward figures and closed with 52.16%, compared to 55.13% in 2019," Aehcos said.
War in Ukraine
José Luque, the president of Aehcos, said: "It has been a good year in terms of occupancy, but it has not been an easy year to manage. When it seemed that the pandemic was on its last legs, the outbreak of war in Ukraine turned the world upside down and the socio-economic consequences continue to shake the sector; to which we must add other difficulties such as rising inflation, constant strikes and delays at airports and rising interest rates, among other issues.”
Aehcos' main objectives for 2023 are to reach an occupancy rate of 77% - which would be 2% higher than the reference year - and to recover traditional markets that have not performed as well as desired in the last year, such as the British, German, French and Irish markets, among others.
Aehcos also points to another recurring challenge that has long been a concern for hoteliers on the Costa del Sol: the lack of staff in the tourism sector, as well as the shortage of housing for them.