Tourists about to enter Malaga city's new hotel. / francis silva

Malaga boasts highest hotel occupancy levels in Spain in the first six months of this year

The Barometer of the Hotel Sector shows the capital of the Costa del Sol had an average of 75% of rooms booked during the first six months of the year, while Marbella hotels were the most profitable in the country during the same period

Pilar Martínez

When the pandemic began, Malaga was at the crest of the wave in terms of tourism. Every big hotel chain wanted a presence in the city and travellers from elsewhere in Spain and abroad were keen to discover this up-and-coming destination. As tourism revived, experts believed city would find it more difficult to attract visitors than seaside resorts or rural locations, but the results so far show that Malaga is still in fashion.

The Barometer of the Hotel Sector, published jointly by STR and Cusham & Wakefield, shows that the capital of the Costa del Sol has the highest occupancy levels in Spain, with an average of 75% of rooms booked during the first six months of the year, before the peak summer season began.

Other cities which did well were Valencia and Alicante, with 70% and 69% occupancy respectively, whereas Madrid and Barcelona lagged behind at 63% and 66%.

According to the report, average hotel occupancy in Spain was 63% in the first half of the year, which was a 118% improvement on last year but still way behind 2019, which was a record year, at 72%.

The improved occupancy levels have enabled hotels to charge more and therefore earn more. Marbella has shown the highest income between January and June, in terms of RevPar, which measures average revenue per available room, and ADR, the average daily rate for an occupied room.

The RevPar for hotels in Marbella was 147 euros, compared with 77 euros for Spain as a whole. After Marbella were Barcelona with 96 euros, Canary Islands with 90 euros and then Malaga with 87 euros.

In terms of the rate per room, hotels in Marbella ended the six-month period with an ADR of 248 euros, followed by Barcelona (146), Balearic Islands (139), Canary Islands (131) and Madrid with 129 euros. For Spain as a whole the average was 123 euros, 39% more than in the same period last year.