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Costa del Sol nears 600,000 tourist beds as holiday lets surge
Tourism

Costa del Sol nears 600,000 tourist beds as holiday lets surge

The number of tourist properties has grown by almost 80% since 2019 despite much of this period coinciding with the travel sector crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic

Pilar Martínez / Alba Martín Campos (graphics)

Malaga

Monday, 29 April 2024

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While Amsterdam is banning the opening of new hotels, Venice is imposing a five-euro fee to enter its historic centre, and protests against mass-tourism in the Canary Islands, the Costa del Sol is continuing to set new tourism records.

After experiencing its best year in 2023, new data shows the destination is approaching 600,000 accommodation beds. Since 2019, accommodation has shot up by almost 80% and the number of places offered by around 50%, resulting in 600,000 beds available on the Costa del Sol. The supply of accommodation has almost tripled in the past eight years, according to data from the Junta's tourism delegation in Malaga.

A new boom in holiday homes in Malaga province, very similar to the growth that occurred in 2016 when they were first regulated, has played a big role in the high figures. The overall increase recorded in 2023 was 81.8% in the case of holiday rental properties, rising from 38,915 to 70,764, which meant the number of places on the market on the Costa del Sol has risen by 84%, figures showed.

In the province

2023

74,739 properties

Holiday lets

67,051

Holiday lets

3,713

Rural cottages

2,103

911

Apartamentos turísticos

Hotels

910

Rural tourist complexes

Campsites

2019

42,277 properties

Holiday lets

36,197

Rural prop.

2,718

Rural cottages

2,103

865

Hotels

Apart.

736

Fuente: Junta de Andalucía

In the province

2023

74,739 properties

Holiday lets

67,051

Rural holiday lets

3,713

Rural cottages

2,103

911

Apartamentos turísticos

Hotels

910

Rural tourism complexes

2019

42,277 properties

Holiday lets

36,197

Rural prop.

2,718

Rural cottages

2,103

Hotels

865

736

Apart. turíst.

Rural tourist complexes

Campsites

Fuente: Junta de Andalucía

Rural holiday lets

Rural cottages

Apartamentos turísticos

Hotels

Campsites

Rural tourism complexes

In the province

2023

74,739 properties

Holiday lets

67,051

3,713

2,103

911

910

2019

42,277 properties

Holiday lets

36,197

2,718

2,103

865

736

Fuente: Junta de Andalucía

Rural holiday lets

Rural cottages

Apartamentos turísticos

Hotels

Campsites

Rural tourism complexes

In the province

2023

2019

74,739 properties

42,277 properties

Holiday lets

Holiday lets

67,051

36,197

2,718

3,713

2,103

2,103

865

911

736

910

Fuente: Junta de Andalucía

The data is significant, even more so considering the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 which put a halt on the travel sector and forced numerous tourist properties out of the market and into the standard rental market instead.

In August 2020, the holiday rental bubble showed signs of bursting, and a report by the Andalusian Tourist Housing Association (AVVA-Pro) estimated there were up to 4,000 tourist properties that were returning as traditional rentals due to the crisis in the sector in Malaga province. The study pointed out the pandemic was taking its toll, with between 6-10% of owners opting to look for clients for their flats outside the tourist industry.

AVVA president Carlos Pérez-Lanzac said at the time: "Those who have chosen this alternative are also afraid of the consequences of the law on urban leases, which sets the period of the contracts at five years, as well as the fear of non-payment and the legal entanglement of eviction."

This was followed by a new regulation limiting the increase in rental prices, which had the opposite effect, with many considering it was time to enter the tourism sector, added to which was the pull effect generated by the negotiation over the past year of a new regulation by the Junta to update the previous one, which included new requirements and the power of local councils to regulate this activity. These factors, according to experts, prompted many owners to register their properties before the new regulations were applied, which were approved just a few weeks ago.

Moderation in hotels

This upward trend is not reflected in the rest of the tourist properties, such as hotels, flats, rural houses or campsites. This type of accommodation is also growing, but by 18.3% and with a smaller increase in bed capacity, which has increased by 6.4% since 2019. "Within the properties, it is important to highlight the growth in all modalities, but especially in rural houses, with an increase of 22.7%, and tourist flats, 23.7%," said the Junta's delegate of tourism in Malaga Gemma del Corral.

It also focuses on the growth of the hotel supply, which has added 616 new properties with 12,413 beds between 2019 and 2023 - an increase of 5.2% and 7.2%, respectively. And it does so by highlighting more than half of these new beds correspond to luxury hotels.

Specifically, the Costa del Sol has increased its number of four and five-star and grand luxury hotel beds by 6,268. "Not only are new properties being created, but the current ones are being improved by focusing on higher value segments," Del Corral said.

According to the data, there are currently 2,820 more four-star beds on the market; 1,299 more five-star beds and 2,149 more grand luxury beds, compared to 2019. Del Corral said the trend in the accommodation sector in Malaga province is leading towards a moderation in growth.

The statistics show the giant leaps the Costa del Sol's accommodation offer has taken to reach the current situation in which it has almost the capacity to accommodate 600,000 tourists a day. It was in February last year when the commitment of investors, entrepreneurs and professionals to this destination meant the province had 514,838 beds, which meant that for the first time it could accommodate more than half a million tourists a day, according to data from the Junta's Andalusian tourism register. The figure showed 48% more hotel beds, tourist accommodation, flats, rural houses and campsites than before the health crisis.

Precisely, at the end of 2019, Malaga province reached 400,000 accommodation places for the first time, and in 2018, accommodation places in the province exceeded 348,000 - two years earlier they barely exceeded 210,000.

Malaga city in step with the province

Malaga city continues to keep pace with the rest of the province where data from the Andalusian tourism registry showed that in the period from 2019 to 2023, the total accommodation offer has increased by 4,982, which means 30,898 beds. The figures showed a 78.8% increase in business and a 64% increase in bed capacity.

"In relation to the provincial data, the growth is very similar, although there is a certain tendency towards tourist properties with fewer vacancies in the case of Malaga city," Del Corral said, adding that the increase in holiday rental properties is 82%, from 5,945 to 10,822. "It should be noted that not all these properties are permanently destined for tourist use, as well as the existence of duplicates," she said.

Del Corral said "Malaga is growing, but it is growing in all types of offer," and added: "it is important to highlight the growth of the hotel offer". From 2019 to 2023 the city gained its first five-star Gran Lujo, the Gran Hotel Miramar; it added two new five-star hotels and six four-star hotels. These have been joined by new forms of accommodation such as capsule hotels, which are part of the hostel sector.

"The great explosion of accommodation in Malaga comes from the hand of tourist flats, which since 2019 has grown by 83 from 171 to 254, reaching 48% more properties and places.

This growth comes part of this tourist transformation in which the strategy now focuses on increasing the quality on offer. This is why Malaga mayor Francisco de la Torre said the city needs more luxury hotels. Tourism councillor Jacobo Florido said the city wants to double its offer of places with more stars in a period of about four years, adding the city needs a thousand more five-star beds in addition to the almost a thousand already available.

In the pipeline are the Hotusa chain's hotel in the Palacio de la Tinta, football star Piqué's project to be managed by Meliá on the site of the old Andalucía cinema, and another hotel in the upper part of calle Victoria where the post office will be converted into a luxury hotel. With these projects, Malaga city will have a dozen five-star hotels in the very short term.

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