The hostelry sector has described this year’s Málaga Feria as the worst for several years, stating that revenues were down by 20% and that the decline was nothing to do with the financial crisis.
The Mayor of Málaga, Francisco de la Torre, had earlier deemed the Feria ‘successful’, with roughly the same number of visitors as last year, 5.5 million in total, and record amounts of rubbish collected. He did, however, admit to a ‘slight decline’ in revenues due to the dates chosen for the event this year and announced that next year the Feria would be from August 9th to 16th so as to include the August 15th public holiday.
The president of the Hostelry Association (Aehma), Rafael Prado, said that one of the main reasons for the 20% decrease in revenues in the sector was the fact that the event did not include the August 15th public holiday, Ascension Day, claiming that the difference in revenues between a normal day and a holiday is around 39%. He added that it is not only the day of the holiday which is important but also the day before.
The president also criticised the decision to end the music in the centre of the city at 18:00 instead of the normal 19:00, describing it as a ‘grave error’ which led to large concentrations of young people engaging in street drinking parties (botellón).
Rafael Prado also lamented the lack of police presence in the city centre and the fact that the cleaning services did not begin until 19:00 each day. He would have liked to see the cleaning carried out throughout the day to avoid giving the impression that the feria was being held on a ‘dunghill’.
On the positive side, Prado said the campaign to stop people wandering around shirtless was a great success and the overall behaviour of feria-goers was ‘excellent’.