No one expected good news, and it has been. “Disastrous”, “unusual”, “debacle”. The president of Tourism Costa del Sol, Francisco Salado, has spared no adjectives to describe the average fall of 75% that has marked the 2020 tourist exercise and has put into perspective the destruction that the pandemic has caused in the sector by ensuring that “we must go back four decades to meet these data. “A brutal scenario that has seized the main economic engine of the community, whose slow recovery will be delayed with the foreseeable application of new restrictions at the start of the new year.
The destination Costa del Sol lost 9.3 million tourists compared to 2019, a period in which all records were broken with 13 million visitors. This year-on-year fall of 71 percent has led to economic losses quantified in 10,351.9 million euros that have taken 1,785 tourist companies ahead.
It is curious, however, that the influence of this disaster on the labor market has been much less than expected. The drop in membership has been 14.75% -17,605 employees-, although Salado considers this data to be “unreal” because “a large part of the 31,000 workers -from Malaga- who are in ERTE are from the sector tourism “, so that a negative evolution of the economy during 2021 may significantly worsen these indicators.
The average stay of 3.7 million tourists that traveled to the province of Malaga fell from 3.5 to 1.9 days and, despite suffering a decline of 74.1%, the airport remained the main route of entry: 2,411,766 passengers between January and November 2020.
UK it continued to be the main foreign source market despite registering a decrease of 2.24 million. Follow him Germany, with a percentage drop of 75.6% and 562,296 fewer tourists, and France, with a decline of 71.2% and 407,376 visitors.
The blow to the domestic market has also been severe. Considered a safe value, and a refuge from the fluctuations of geopolitics, the intermittent mobility restrictions have discouraged travel, accumulating a drop of 60% and the loss of 814,000 arrivals.
The 40,172 cruise passengers who arrived in the province translate into a drop of 89.3%, while the 351,799 AVE travelers have meant a year-on-year decrease of 61.1%.
“The health crisis, with all the mobility restrictions, has caused the worst historical year for tourism in the province of Malaga”, summarized the president of Tourism Costa del Sol, who wanted to launch a “clear message and resounding support for the sector, employers and workers, of which it has been and will be the main economic engine “.
Salado has defended that “we are a destination with an unbeatable offer and we can offer absolute security guarantees to our potential visitors. That is why we will continue to strongly demand measures that help us get out of this crisis in the best conditions”. Reason why “we make the demands of the sector our own”: “direct aid to companies” and “conducting diagnostic tests on visitors coming from countries at risk to ensure safety.”
Luis Callejon, President of the Association of Hotel Entrepreneurs of the Costa del Sol (Aehcos), explained that 80 percent of the establishments are closed and has predicted a recovery beyond 2021. “We have realized that that the Government has no money, so let’s go for measures they can do, such as tax reduction”, he proposed, before warning that” we are not going to be competitive through prices “, since” our personnel costs are at 35%, compared to 15 in Turkey, for example “.
“Are the ERTE going to be extended? Until when? We cannot be kept in this situation, because the uncertainty causes death “, he added about the necessary involvement of the administrations to save the sector, to then make a parallel with the effects of the pandemic and affirm that” all businessmen are infected: some will be asymptomatic, others they will enter and many will die. ”
CallejÃ³n has pointed out that 2020 has been a year “to forget and to learn.” “An unusual, novel situation, having to kick out our clients in March and look for the keys to lock it up.”
The representative of the hotel management association has recognized that new time restrictions and mobility that the different autonomous governments cook little more damage, but the president of Costa del Sol Tourism considers that they will delay the recovery of the sector.
“The tourism industry is one of dreams and happiness and it will be again when the pandemic passes. 2021 should be the year in which the Costa del Sol smiles again”, assured Francisco Salado, who has sentenced: “We will get up.”