It was difficult to find a free table in the chiringuitos this summer. / sur

Costa del Sol chiringuitos report a record rise in average spend per customer

“There have not been as many British visitors, but a lot of Dutch, Belgians and Scandinavians, and they spend more,” said the Malaga Association of Beach Businesses

IVÁN GELIBTER Malaga

The amount spent per person in the Costa del Sol’s famous ‘chiringuito’ beach restaurants has risen from 25 euros to 40 in one year. The business owners say this is a record increase and is due not only to increased prices but also because customers have been keen to splash out more.

“After the past two years of the pandemic, people have wanted to enjoy themselves this summer, no matter what the coming months might bring,” said Manuel Villafaina, the president of the Association of Beach Businesses on the Costa del Sol.

The ever-popular fried mixed fish and sardines cooked on canes over an open fire, which are not expensive dishes, were much in demand but so were others which were more costly. “We sold fewer meat dishes, but that was something that started before the pandemic,” he said.

As well as an increase in Spanish clients, Villafaina said foreign tourists seemed to have more money this year. “There have not been as many British visitors, but a lot of Dutch, Belgians and Scandinavians, and they spend more,” he said.

Concern about what is to come

This may have been a record summer, and the outlook for September and October isn’t bad, but there is concern in the sector about what the winter might bring. “We know there is going to be a recession and we are not very confident about what could happen after that,” he said.

The hotel sector is in a similar situation, with higher room prices being matched by an increase in demand, but this has been offset by rising costs, especially energy prices. The president of the Aehcos hoteliers' association has said that some establishments have made very little profit, if any at all, because the price of electricity has gone up by 240% and fuel such as gas and raw materials are also more than 30% more expensive.