By Sarah Keane • 28 March 2021 • 12:44
Credit - Tripadvisor
COSTA del Sol hotel group president says ‘the high season will be longer’ if the vaccine rollout is effective
The Association of Hotel Entrepreneurs of the Costa del Sol (Aehcos) has entered a new phase as businessman of the Fuerte hotel group, Jose Lugue, has taken over as president on March 24 and will remain in the position for the next four years. He spoke with Spanish daily Malaga Hoy about the challenges facing the hospitality industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic and his hopes for Andalucían hotels in the future.
Mr Lugue said that while it was very disappointing that tough restrictions remain in place over the Easter period, the reality is that Spanish hoteliers “live for the summer” rather than Holy Week.
“We prefer this sacrifice for the real sake of having summer,” he said, adding that he is “hopeful that this sacrifice means guaranteeing summer, which is where our bread and butter are.”
While acknowledging that only around 30 per cent of hotels on the Costa del Sol are currently operational, the new president said that business owners have seen a slow increase in bookings for June, and a steady flow for July, August and September. However, he warned that the slightest change in the health situation could spark a cancellation frenzy.
“Any bad news or any restriction on international passenger traffic annoys us,” he said. “The other day, Minister Reyes Maroto said that the goal was to reach 50% of 2019. Last year we made 30% of 2019 and this year we aspire to 50%. I would say that with 40 or 45% we are happy.”
Mr Lugue added that he thinks vaccine passports are an excellent idea, and if Spain can achieve the target of vaccinating 70 per cent of the population by the summer, Costa del Sol hoteliers could be looking at an extended season.
“If the vaccine works, the high season would lengthen,” he stated.
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Former teacher and health services manager with a Degree in English, Sarah moved to Spain from Southern Ireland with her husband, who runs his own car rental business, in 2019. She is now enjoying a completely different pace and quality of life on the Costa Blanca South, with wonderful Spanish and expat friends in Cabo Roig. Sarah began working with Euro Weekly News in 2020 and loves nothing more than bringing all the latest national and international news to her local community.
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