Guests checking in at a Malaga hotel earlier this month. Marilú Báez
Hotel room prices on the Costa del Sol in July were the most expensive they have ever been

Hotel room prices on the Costa del Sol in July were the most expensive they have ever been

Despite average room rates rising by 24.5%, there were more bookings last month than in July 2019, which was the last record year for visitors

Pilar Martínez


Friday, 25 August 2023, 12:15


It was a record July for hotels on the Costa del Sol, with more tourists, more stays, more employment, higher prices and a surge in profits compared to the previous best July back in 2019.

Data published this week from Spain's national statistics institute (INE) shows hotels locally had three per cent more bookings than before the Covid-19 pandemic, with more visitors choosing Malaga province, despite the prices being the highest ever.

The average cost of a night's stay in a hotel in Malaga province, including the Costa del Sol, last month was 167 euros, 24.5 per cent more than before the pandemic and five per cent more than last year. This figure is also higher than the national and Andalusian regional averages.

Total visitor numbers

The data for the overall number of visitors also confirms that the Costa's pulling power is stronger than ever.

Local hotels welcomed 693,528 guests in July, generating 2.58 million overnight stays, of which more than 1.7 million were made by foreign tourists. The figure proves that international tourism has fully recovered after the pandemic, beating July 2019.

Hotel occupancy - the figure that measures how many of the hotel rooms available have been sold - was slightly down this July compared to 2019, however; there are more hotels open now to fill than before the pandemic. The occupancy was 80.9 per cent in July this year compared to 81.6 per cent in July 2019.

The Association of Hoteliers of the Costa del Sol (Aehcos) expects hotel rooms in August to be over 86 per cent full, after upping their forecast at the end of July by 2.5 percentage points. But, it said, that figure will be two per cent below last year's record and considerably lower than in 2019, when it reached 89.73 per cent.

International tourism

"International tourism, which makes up 60 per cent of demand in August, has recovered to a great extent compared to 2022, while national tourism has dropped in contrast to 2021 and 2022," the association said.

The Costa del Sol continues to lead tourism activity in Andalucía, accounting for almost 39 per cent of the total number of overnight stays in the region's eight provinces. Andalusian hotels welcomed 2.1 million guests, an increase of 2.3 per cent compared to the same month in 2022.

The regional ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport said that "once again the growth of the foreign market is mainly responsible for these increases, with an increase of 11.2 per cent in international visitors and 11.4 per cent more overnight stays."

The regional minister for Tourism, Arturo Bernal, explained that the figures show Andalucía "continues with strong growth, supported especially by the recovery of the international markets".


He highlighted that, from January to July this year, Andalucía's hotels received a total of 11.3 million visitors and 30.2 million overnight stays representing increases over the previous year of nine per cent and 8.7 per cent, respectively.

Forecasts from the Junta de Andalucía regional government are for overnight stays to rise by 3.8 per cent this August, 4.1 per cent in September and 4.4 per cent in October.

These expectations would mean a total of 48.5 million stays in Andalusian hotels in the period from January to October, 6.9 per cent more than in the first 10 months of 2022.

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