The massive closure of hotels on the Costa del Sol begins, with no reopening date

Meliá Costa del Sol

Aehcos forecasts that 80% of the establishments will cease to be operational this winter, many of them had never closed for the season

Tourism on the Costa del Sol is bleeding to death. The lack of demand due to the impact of the quarantines decreed by key emitters such as the United Kingdom and the travel restrictions that are widespread due to the pandemic, which also keeps the domestic economies of Spaniards on edge due to the uncertainties of the ERTE and the gradual closure of companies, has led to the closure of hotels on the Costa del Sol, which is expected to be massive and without a date for reopening. And that's because September is a month that in recent years had managed to achieve similar indicators to those of July or August. More than 2.2 million stays were registered last year by the province's hotel establishments in September, with an occupancy rate of 72% and a clientele with greater spending power. Nothing to do with the 23% of beds that are now expected to be filled, according to data from the Association of Hotel Owners of the Coast (AEHCOS) for this month, which already contemplate that only half of the supply is active. In August, 80% of the hotel floor was open.

The closure of hotels has begun and has done so in consolidated destinations and emblematic establishments that have never stopped operating in the low season. This is the case of the Pez Espada, the Alay, the Meliá Costa del Sol or the MS Amaragua. The president of Aehcos, Luis Callejón Suñé, said that the situation is critical and that this winter 80% of the hotels on the coast are expected to close, when in recent seasons this was the figure that remained operational. In addition, the high season had been extended until the end of October and the period of inactivity shortened to February. On this occasion the date of reopening is not specified because it is at the expense of the evolution of the pandemic. "The virus is incompatible with tourism," Callejón Suñé stressed, justifying the fact that most of them are closing down without knowing when they will receive tourists again.

The first closures have taken place with the arrival of September. This is the case of the emblematic Hotel Alay, which has not been operating since the first of July, even though it reopened on 31 July. Álvaro Reyes, commercial director, pointed out that the season has been reduced to just one month, from which it is worth noting that more than August it seemed like November. "There is no demand. That is the reality. We have never closed for the winter. We hope to be able to open on the 1st of March," he said. The Med Playa chain also confirmed the closure of what is a flagship of the Coast, the Swordfish. "There is no date for its reopening," they said. The last clients left yesterday at the Meliá Costa del Sol. "The prospects were bleak. Since 1976 we have never closed, but the situation is unusual," said the director of the hotel Carlos Franco, who hopes to open as soon as "there is an opportunity". Likewise, the CEO of the MS chain from Malaga, Miguel Sánchez, has also already closed the two establishments he reopened on the Coast, out of the four he has. MS Amaragua closed last Thursday and the Pepita flats in Benalmádena on Friday. "There is no movement and we have to think about saving the companies and the jobs", said Sánchez, who predicted that from next 20th there will be few hotels open.