The reception area of a Costa del Sol hotel. / sur

Costa del Sol hotels expect a 74% occupancy rate over the May Day holiday weekend

The Axarquía, Nerja and Fuengirola have the highest level of bookings for the 'puente', followed by Malaga, Marbella and Benalmádena

Pilar Martínez

The tourism authorities deemed Easter in Malaga a great success and are now looking forward to the long May Day weekend which, it is hoped, will also bring plenty of visitors to the area. The Aehcos hoteliers association on the Costa del Sol is expecting occupancy rates of 74.3 per cent, and if that is the case then this will be the first April to achieve results which are very similar to the same time of year in 2019.

The return of international tourists is behind this success. Of those who came to Malaga at Easter, 65% were from abroad and 35% from elsewhere in Spain.

Aehcos president José Luque believes there is finally light at the end of the tunnel after the dark days of the pandemic, although he is concerned about the rising costs which hoteliers have to face and which will reduce profit levels.

The association’s figures show that the most popular destinations booked for the long weekend are the Axarquía, with an 86.34% occupancy rate; Nerja, with 82.4% and Fuengirola, 81%. Hotels in Malaga city, Marbella and Benalmádena say they are around 75% booked, while in the inland region Ronda has the most bookings, at 71.5%.

At Easter, the most popular places for visitors were Malaga city, with an 80% occupancy rate, Torremolinos with 78.09%, Nerja with 76.7%, La Axarquía, with 75.7%, Benalmádena with 75.56% and Marbella, 75.29%.

In fact, Malaga council’s Tourism Department says that in March the city had a higher hotel occupancy rate than many others in Spain. It was 72.47% in Malaga, 69% in Seville, 68.9% in Barcelona, 66.3% in Valencia, 64.9% in Madrid and 58.3% in Zaragoza.

The average length of stay in Malaga in March was 2.13 days, which was less than Barcelona and Madrid but longer than Valencia, Seville and Zaragoza.