COSTA DEL SOL hotels expect occupancy levels to rise by 4 per cent this year, but some complain tourists are spending less.
The British market has recovered and five per cent more British tourists than last year are expected, according to the Costa del Sol Hoteliers Association (AEHCOS),. The German, French and Italian markets have also picked up, while the number of national tourists is expected to remain the same.
The Costa del Sol Tourism Board estimates that 8.8 million tourists visited the area last year, and spent an average of €978, 57 per cent more than in 2009. This brought the total revenue for the year up to €8.6 billion.
AEHCOS represents more than 365 hotels on the Costa del Sol with a total of 88,000 places available for accommodation, which is 85 per cent of the total in Malaga Province. They are expecting an average occupancy level of 68.5 per cent for the summer.
Despite these positive figures, the president of AEHCOS, Jose Carlos Escribano, says that the sector has a long road ahead before it can forget the financial crisis. “What has increased is the number of overnight stays” he said “but many tourists visit the Costa del Sol taking advantage of offers and prices which have remained the same since 2003”.
The Managing Director of the Holiday World resort in Benalmadena Costa, Maria Francisca Peñarroya, agrees with Escribano. “Since we opened in 2004 we have seen the number of visitors increase every year” she says, “but to obtain this we have had to keep prices low”.
“This is what the sector should be paying attention to, because we are spending more on taxes, electricity, water, heating, merchandise and everything else for our guests, and the more there are, the more we have to spend, but we are getting paid the same as eight years ago”.
She clarifies, “we are pleased to see the tourists coming and figures rising for the whole of the Costa del Sol, but we have to be aware of how expensive it is to provide the best service for increasingly demanding clients”.
By Jennifer Leighfield
Photo credit: HolidayWorld