Tuesday, 9 January 2024, 13:33
Last year will go down in history for hotels on the Costa del Sol as the best year ever, beating the previous record of 2019. The Aehcos association of hoteliers of the Costa del Sol (Aehcos) said that 2023 closed with an average occupancy rate of almost 77 per cent, a figure that is more than 1.5 percentage points higher than the boom year before the pandemic. However, Aehcos has predicted that 2024 will likely be marked by uncertainty.
The hotel occupancy rate for the entire province of Malaga was 76.8 per cent for the whole of 2023, which represents a 8.5 per cent increase compared to 2022. «It is true that the improvement over last year has been quite significant, but if we look at the figures for 2019, before the Covid pandemic, we see that the increase has been only 1.59 per cent in terms of occupancy. That is why we cannot let our guard down and we must continue to join forces to improve the competitiveness of the Costa del Sol and Malaga province with many pending projects still to be resolved,» the president of Aehcos, José Luque, emphasised.
The December 2023 data gave an occupancy rate of 56.82 per cent for the province, up 4% on the figures obtained in the same period of 2022. Frigiliana and Torrox were the favourites of tourists in the last month of the year with a hotel occupancy rate of 70 per cent. They were followed by Ronda, with 49.78 per cent and Mijas with 40.7 per cent.
«We consider that it has been a good year in terms of occupancy, but it has not been an easy year to manage. High inflation and the high cost of raw materials have meant that hoteliers have had a lower profit margin for their businesses», commented the executive committee of the employers' association.
The association has warned that «the situation is really uncertain, not only because of the existence of international conflicts that could provoke a new world economic crisis. It highlighted the situation in the Middle East, which is already having an impact on the maritime transport of goods and its consequences on supply difficulties. Aehcos also raised concerns »because the entry into this conflict of other countries in the area could provoke an even greater crisis than the existing one«. The association added that the conflict due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine could continue for a few more years. »All of this could have serious economic repercussions for Spain«, it forecast, adding that »among the dark clouds that lie in wait for this sector are the increase in the cost of food and drink, as well as the labour and social security costs resulting from the measures being considered by the government«.
Aehcos also said it is concerned about the change in the IVA sales tax on electricity and gas, which will return to the reduced rate of 10%, and about the considerable increase in the cost of water expected in 2024 in some municipalities, in some cases more than 30 per cent.
The president of Aehcos, José Luque, said he is concerned «not only about the water situation in the province, but also because there are still various issues to be resolved to further improve our positioning as a tourist destination, making progress in improving our coastline and beaches, as well as road and rail mobility, which are still challenges that have remained to be solved for years».
January 2024 starts with an expected occupancy rate of 54%, a similar figure to the previous year, although several factors such as last-minute bookings and the weather, which is usually key to bookings during the winter months, will need to be taken into account.
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