The cradle of the sun and sea tourism, the town of Torremolinos in the province of Malaga, sways in its hotels, half a century after its inception in this activity, almost as many stays than the whole Seville province, including the capital, or than whole province of Almeria. This municipality, with 68.181 inhabitants, has closed 2011 with over 4.2 million overnight hotel stays, being the only town in Andalusia to reach this volume of business in only one year.
The importance of this data is easy to understand when the figure is compared to entire provinces with strong tourism and is able to surpass them or at least reach their level. To be aware of just how strong the tourism was in this municipality last year, it’s suffice to say that the overnight stays in Torremolinos hotels mean a 10% of the total of stays registered in the aforementioned period in the whole of Andalusia’s eight provinces, that came to a total of 42.4 million. Or more than a quarter of the whole province of Malaga, that surpassed the figure of 15.8 million nights reserved. Or also almost three times more than the whole of the province of Cordoba, including the capital, according to the figures of the Hotel Occupation Survey carried out by the National Institute of Statistics.
The trend keeps steady and the year has begun with such a clear horizon that the stays of the foreign tourists have increased by 80%, soaring the average occupation of the first month of the year up to 48%, according to the National Institute of Statistics.
The international streak
It’s still the international scenario the one that injects vitality to this municipality, even compensating the downfall of the Spanish, that are more affected by the impact of the economic crisis. The key of Torremolinos’ unusual situation regarding the business generation for the hotels is having achieved that 931.854 travellers lodged in these establishments in 2011 generated an amount of 4.2 million stays. A mission not at all easy. It’s suffice to point out the case of Malaga capital city, that closed last year with 907.669 tourists lodged in hotels, almost as many as in Torremolinos, but the overnight stays in the city stayed at 1.7 million. The difference between one destination and the other is that in the capital city the visitor does not remain in the destination for more than two days but the foreigners that arrive at Torremolinos, on the other hand, stay for four or five days; and the Spanish that book into these establishments stay two to three nights.
The complementary offer of sun and sea, with the Torremolinos beach bar’s (‘chiringuitos’) autochthonous gastronomy, the alternatives of leisure, sport and shopping, together with the congresses, are the magnets that retain the travellers until soaring the stays at levels of the Almeria province, that with similar reclaims also closed last year with barely 145.174 overnight stays more than Torremolinos and for that it needed 180.564 more tourists than Torremolinos.
It’s quite surprising, even for the professionals of the sector, that Torremolinos has only three hundred thousand stays less than in the whole province of Seville, capital city included, and its advantage of being the government’s administrative seat and internationally recognised. Along this same line, its quite shocking that Torremolinos’ tourist activity is close to the number of stays of the whole Granada province, that with more than double the tourists of Torremolinos, it achieves half a million overnight stays more, adding up to 4.8 million. A reachable figure for Torremolinos, that in the historical years of 2007 and 2008 reached the figure of five million reserved nights.
The sun and sea’s validity
These figures manifest the validity of the sun and sea sector and warn that, despite the boom of the culture, which is provided, in its vast majority, by Granada’s capital with the Alhambra, no one should revile the holiday tourist. In this sense, hotel managers of the town coincided that there is a mistaken view when it comes to demeaning the visitor that seeks to just lie down on a sunbed, as we tend to consider him/her less profitable than the tourist that does cultural visits, the same goes for those destinations that brag about being leaders of holiday tourism. “These travellers generate more money because they stay at the destination for more days. Furthermore, they mainly choose four-star hotels of a hotel industry that has been revamped in the last few years and that have a unique location right on the sea front of natural beaches”, said Fernandez Montes.
In this sense, it’s worth mentioning that Torremolinos gathers between 32 and 34% of the hotel vacancies on the Costa del Sol and that compared to destinations like Marbella, considered the crown’s jewel for its luxurious offer, Torremolinos is fifteen points ahead regarding average hotel occupation during last year.
In this sense, it’s worth mentioning that Torremolinos is also the municipality on the coast that fills most beds per year on average, with 63.8% and peaks that surpass 66% of the occupied vacancies during the weekends in 2011. The Costa del Sol closed this same period with 54% of the occupation, always based on the figures of the National Institute of Statistics.
“In torremolinos we have been able to maintain, for example, the European Retro Dance Championship, that provides the sector with around five thousand tourists. But we have also managed to break our way through the sector of sporting tourism, that soars the number of hotel stays up to an average of twelve days. With the Olympic swimming pool facilities we are also leaping ahead. Here, the national teams of Canada and Finland are planning to carry out their preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games of London”, explained Fernandez Montes.
This way, Torremolinos, with over 20.000 hotel vacancies, surpasses the average hotel occupation in Andalusia and other tourist provinces like Granada, by twenty points, and only 17 points away from the province of Seville. On the coast, only Benalmadena barely reaches the hotel activity of Torremolinos. A destination that, seeing this balance with official figures, is still trendy and popular in spite of its seniority.