Costa del Sol’s leading hotel chain has confirmed that UK and German tour operators are actually focusing on selling holiday packages for next year, and not this one.
ACCORDING to José Luque, a tourism expert and owner of family hotel chain Fuerte Group Hotels, with luxury hotels in Marbella, Conil, Estepona, Huelva, Grazalema, Ibiza and Nerja, many international tour operators have written this year off as a result of Covid-19, and their main focus is actually on next year instead.
In an interview with Malaga Hoy, Luque described many of the international tour operators as “two-faced” because on the one hand, “they say they would like to start this June,” however, “we know tour operators are focusing on next year instead.” They don’t want to upset tourists at home by completely ruling this year out, because “holidaymakers will want their money back and tour operators financially can’t afford to refund them,” he said.
Luque believes many tour operators, particularly from the UK and Germany, have written this year off and are “focusing more on next year instead.” This equates to a loss of around 65 per cent of international tourists this summer, which means that Spain’s tourism sector has no choice but to focus on national tourism instead.
As a result, not all hotels will open their doors this summer, noted Luque. “Fuerte Group Hotels, for example, is planning on opening only those hotels in July and August that we know will be popular with national tourists,” he confirmed. “Prices won’t be as high as last year because we have more businesses competing for a small market, so national tourists will be able to take advantage of lower prices, without a doubt,” he pointed out.
Luque also believes that hotels are in a better position than holiday apartments to benefit from domestic tourism, because they are better placed to guarantee that health and safety standards are met because of strict requirements. He added that “there will only be certainty for our industry when the Covid-19 situation stabilises and that won’t happen until there is a vaccine.” However, he hasn’t completely written off this year. If the tourism sector plays it cards right with the domestic tourism market, it can recuperate some losses in the summer months of July and August, which is what Luque is banking on.