The president of the Association of Hotel Entrepreneurs of the Costa del Sol (Aehcos), José Luque, takes stock of the sector after a second summer marked by the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on mobility, registering a reduction in income that reaches 550 million euros in the area compared to 2019, so it faces the off-season with uncertainty.

-How is the low season presented?

–The occupation data initially foreseen for September and October have seen a slight improvement. If for the first the sector expected a Average occupancy of 57.06%, now this figure stands at 64.02% and for the second it was estimated that the occupancy would be around 42.38%, but at present this figure can reach 51.81%.

– What type of tourist visits the Costa del Sol in autumn?

–Fundamentally, it is based in order of importance on the segments of cultural tourism, corporate or business, meeting, sports With the start of the competition seasons, the active and to an important extent for the weekend getaways. In the case of holiday tourism and sun and beach we are talking about a situation in the months of September and October of the middle season, so some destinations can benefit from demand beyond July and August. As for the international tourist, and depending on the opening of the borders due to the health crisis, a certain incidence is expected in the vacation.

–The month of August closed with an occupancy of 76.42%. To what extent has the hotel sector in the area recovered this summer?

–It is true that finally the average occupancy results on the Costa del Sol have been somewhat higher than the expectations for June and July, but the data have been significantly lower than our reference year, which is 2019. Some rnegative differential results with respect to that reference of -14.83% and 13.3 percentage points, fundamentally due to the low demand from international markets, and specifically the European ones. It has been practically national tourism with a 69% share which has saved the month of August.

–Aehcos has requested to extend the Temporary Employment Regulation Files (ERTE) until Easter. What would this measure allow companies?

–The extension of the Temporary Employment Regulation Files (ERTE) represents a effective and vital tool in the current situation of uncertainty, taking into account the occupancy forecasts of our establishments for the low season. Measure supposes a relief and a respite, given that this flexibility avoids the financial burden on the establishments that the maintenance of the workers implies in the event of the closure of the establishments due to the lack of income caused by the new closures.

– What if there is a new wave of Covid-19?

-As minimum we put Holy Week as a reference In the event that there is no new wave of hospitalizations caused by the Covid, that in such case we should modify this time reference.

– What other measures could the administrations apply to favor the recovery of the sector?

–After the summer season, we are in great need of other tools that have to do with business financing and tax exemption Given the low activity in our sector, since delaying the payment of taxes or their postponement means delaying problems over time. The incentives for lack of activity in those establishments that close, they will be essential for survival.

–Of the aid promised since the beginning of the pandemic, how many have materialized?

– At the moment, they are resolving individualized form and by establishments aids from the Junta de Andalucía from the European Funds for economic losses in 2020 compared to 2019 and for maintenance of employment. Regarding the municipalities, the behavior is very different from one to the other, the offer of aid from Fuengirola, Nerja, Málaga capital, Vélez Málaga and Marbella, that they have taken measures that have to do with the IBI discount, the rate of garbage and occupation of public roads.

– What losses are recorded in the hotel industry after the summer?

–Hotel establishments on the Costa del Sol have had lower income compared to June, July and August 2019 of around 32% on average, with a reduction per month of 46.64%, 28.78% and 14.83% respectively. It is estimated a reduction of income compared to 2019 of about 550 million euros, fundamentally caused by the lower influx of international tourists.

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