Domestic tourism appears to be holding up

National tourism to the Costa del Sol appears to be holding up, compensating for a drop in international visitors.

Hoteliers in Málaga province are optimistic in achieving an occupancy rate of between 75% and 80%, despite a 25 to 30 per cent fall in international bookings.

The Costa del Sol seems to have maintained its position as the preferred destination of many Spaniards, particularly those from Madrid. In addition to a decline in the number of foreign visitors, those who are booking hotels are tending to opt for shorter stays and are being much more careful when it comes to spending.

Predicting hotel occupancy is becoming more and more difficult as there is a general trend towards ‘last minute’ bookings, the increased popularity and use of the internet being blamed for this phenomenon. People are no longer booking well in advance of their holiday as they are certain that there will always be beds available through one source or another and that, in many cases, there will also be a variety of special offers. Makes sense.

Easter was a prime example of this revolution in the tourist industry. For the first Friday of Easter Week, some hotels were reporting an expected occupancy rate as low as 50% and were fearing the worst, but a couple of days later they were up to 90 or even 95% due to the ‘last minute’ effect.

Hotels in Málaga province, however, have come in for some criticism during the first six months of this year. There have been around 5,000 job losses in the hotel industry with some employers opting to both cut the number of staff and reduce their prices as a means of combating the economic crisis. Some believe such measures will only result in a reduction in quality of service.