The Costa del Sol's hotel industry recorded its best year in history in 2023, surpassing the previous high of 2019, according to the Aehcos hoteliers' association. The year concluded with a remarkable 77% average occupancy rate, slightly exceeding the pre-pandemic boom year. Despite this success, Aehcos anticipates a potentially unstable 2024.
Malaga province as a whole experienced a substantial 8.5% increase in occupancy rates compared to 2022, reaching 76.8% for the year. Aehcos President José Luque highlighted the modest growth since 2019 and stressed the importance of ongoing collaborative efforts to enhance Costa del Sol and Malaga's appeal, addressing several unresolved projects.
December 2023 saw a healthy occupancy rate of 56.82% in the province, with Frigiliana and Torrox leading at 70%. Ronda and Mijas followed with 49.78% and 40.7%, respectively. Despite high occupancy, challenges like inflation and costly raw materials have compressed profit margins for hoteliers, as noted by Aehcos.
Aehcos warns of potential global economic turmoil due to international conflicts, such as those in the Middle East affecting maritime trade and the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict. These issues, along with rising food, drink, and labor costs, pose significant risks for Spain's economy.
The association also expressed concern about the upcoming changes in IVA sales tax rates on electricity and gas and anticipated substantial increases in water costs in some municipalities in 2024. President Luque highlighted additional challenges in improving the province's tourist appeal, focusing on coastline and beach enhancements, as well as transportation infrastructure improvements.
January 2024 is expected to start with a 54% occupancy rate, influenced by factors like last-minute bookings and winter weather, which are crucial for this season's reservations.