Tourists cycle through the Malaga city centre, passing in front of the La Equitativa hotel. / ÑITO SALAS

Costa del Sol hotels close September with 68% occupancy, four points more than expected

The sector is confident that it will return to pre-pandemic levels of holidaymakers in 2023 - 2024

Pilar Martínez

September has continued the pattern of the whole summer in which the hotel occupancy rates of each month have yielded better results than expected.

The Costa del Sol hoteliers association, Aehcos, has confirmed that establishments in Malaga province reached an average occupancy of 68 per cent last month, a figure that is four points higher than expected.

By municipalities, Nerja once again stands out, leading the ranking of most visited destinations, with an occupancy rate of 89 per cent in the first half of September and the Axarquía, Malaga city and Marbella in the second half with 77 per cent.

In their latest report the association has raised the forecast made for October, to 56 per cent of the total available beds (77.6 per cent in 2019), and for November, to 35 per cent, compared to the 63.6 per cent reached two years ago

The employer's association has also reacted to Spanish airport operator Aena’s report that foresees that the Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport will take five years to recover the twenty million passengers it touched before the pandemic, “It has been a jug of cold water. We expected that the reactivation would be faster and that by 2023 we would see passenger flows similar to those before 2019," it explained.

Travel agencies

However, the president of the Association of Travel Agencies of the Costa del Sol, Sergio García, expressed his conviction that the movement of passengers will recover earlier than forecast in the Aena report.

"It may be that you have to wait five years, but I believe that they will be reached around 2023 or 2024," he says. He justifies it by saying that this summer the increase in activity has already been noticed. “The pandemic is more contained, people are losing their fears and are already looking for transatlantic cruises. They know that you can move with ease in Europe and in November you can travel to the United States. There is desire to travel and I hope that the return to pre-pandemic levels will arrive in two or three years.