Many of the visitors this month have come from abroad. / sur

November occupancy rate in Costa del Sol hotels is higher than pre-pandemic

The Aehcos hotel association has also revealed its forecast for December, which includes two holiday weekends and Christmas

Pilar Martínez
PILAR MARTÍNEZ MALAGA.

Hotel bookings on the Costa del Sol this month look like being higher than in November 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic. The Aehcos hotel association says 65.8% of beds are occupied this month, which is two points higher than three years ago. The return of international visitors has contributed to this, as 65% of tourists in Malaga province have come from abroad.

The president of Aehcos, José Luque, said the association’s members were generally feeling positive about occupancy levels and international visitors, and events like the Davis Cup which takes place in Malaga this month help to bring tourists to the region in the low season. People seem keen to travel again, he said, but the sector is concerned about rising energy costs and how those are eating into potential profits.

Malaga city and Mijas most in demand

Figures for the first half of November are particularly good, with an average occupancy level of 73.13%. The most popular places have been Malaga city and Mijas. So far in the second half of the month occupancy has been around 60%, and again demand has been highest in those two destinations.

Looking ahead to December, which includes two holiday weekends and Christmas, Aehcos is particularly optimistic. “It’s still early to tell, but we believe hotel occupancy will be higher than before the pandemic,” Luque said.

Nevertheless, hotel reservations for the periods between 2nd and 6th and 7th to 11th December are lower than 2019 figures at present: an estimated 56.74% for the first, compared with 70.35% three years ago, and 53.4% compared with 70.35%, respectively. However, this does not appear to be considered a problem.

“At this time of year people normally wait until the last minute to book a break, and the weather has a lot to do with whether or not they decide to travel,” José Luque said.