The motion put forward in the latest Plenary Meeting of the Almuñécar Town Council to subsidise hotels in the municipality during off-season was rejected.
The idea was to offer ‘economic encouragement’ to hotels in exchange for keeping their doors open all year round, instead of closing up in the winter.
The fact is that around 27% of the hotel beds available during the summer disappear as soon as autumn comes around, or if you prefer, Almuñécar loses 1,900 hotel beds out of the 7,000 on offer during high season.
Of course, this is not because hotels close off wings but rather the whole hotel shuts down; such is the case of Playacálida in Taramay and Hotel Tryp in La Herradura, for example.
Not only does this mean that hotel workers find themselves laid off, but also hotel suppliers lose a lot of custom as well.
The hotels that soldier on are the ones that open their doors to Imserso (holidays for pensioners paid for by the state). The pickings are lean but at least it pays the bills and keeps hotel staff employed. There is also off-season, foreign tourism, which from a feeble beginning is beginning to take up the slack.
However, the Imserso programme has dropped by 80% this year because of a delay in its yearly implementation. Consequently only one hotel (Hotel Toboso) with its modest 37 rooms has Imserso clients.
The Asociación de Hoteleros de la Costa Tropical, which is chaired by the Manager of Hotel Albaizyn del Mar, Jesús Megías, has been looking for support from the Town Hall in the form of a subsidy; more specifically, 50% off the IBI that they have to pay into the municipal coffers for those hotels that weather the winter. This is hardly revolutionary because Marbella, for example, does precisely that.
The Town Hall, on the other hand, initially suggested paying a grant to the hotels because it was administratively more straightforward. However, it never got off the ground because it got back burnered by the recent elections.
However, Benny ‘The Indestructible’ (Benavides) decided to bring such a motion to the last Plenary Meeting of the Town Council. But apart from the votes from his own party (CA) it was only supported by the PSOE, thus the motion was quashed by the governing coalition of ‘Improbably Bedfellows.’
The Councillor for Tourism, Daniel Barbero, explained that they had rejected the motion because the municipal treasurer said that it was not viable. Furthermore, he considers, that it is not only the hotels that suffer during the low season, but also the taxi sector, the chiringuitos and the whole of the tourist sector in general, therefore it would be “unjust” to halve the IBI of only the hotel sector.
Councillor Barbero concluded that it would be a better strategy to spend more money on promoting the town through its Board of Tourism so that the whole sector benefited.
Editorial comment: Firstly, if the hotels stay open then the rest of the tourist sector will benefit directly, right from the taxi drivers down to the chiringuitos – how does the Councillor not see that?
(News: Almunecar, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)