Málaga, (EFE) ” and the business prospects for businessmen in the sector are “very good”.
The president of the Andalusian Federation of Beach Entrepreneurs (Faeplayas), Manuel Villafaina, has told EFE that almost all the establishments in the five coastal provinces of the community are expected to be open within a month.
At present, the beaches are “in optimal conditions for their use, removing some points that can be counted on the fingers of one hand,” Villafaina has assured, who hopes they will remain so in the coming weeks.
With the climate that Andalusia enjoys, “there is no longer winter here, the season is almost all year round”, which is helping to combat tourist seasonality and with this, the municipalities also keep the beaches clean outside of the high season.
The beach bar business is closely linked to the activity of other sectors such as accommodation. Although reservations are made less and less in advance, the hotel prospects for Easter are good, and to this must be added the arrival of the owners of a second residence, he explained.
A set-up that will culminate in 2025
Entrepreneurs hope that the trend of last year will continue, in which despite there being fewer visitors to the beaches of Andalusia at Easter than in the “excellent” 2019, a higher level of tourist spending was observed in their establishments and “desire to enjoy” after the health crisis derived from the pandemic.
During those years, which represented an unprecedented blow to tourism, many of the beach bar owners took the opportunity to initiate reforms in their establishments, in order to modernize them.
Since 2020, Villafaina calculates that the investment carried out in the Andalusian beach facilities is around 500 million euros. The actions are expected to reach a disbursement of 1,200 million euros, a challenge that he believes will be completed in less than two years.
Most of the pending reforms will be carried out in 2024 because “almost all of them already have their building permit.” Many have not been able to undertake them before because they did not have the municipal authorizations for some work that, logically, they are not going to undertake in the middle of summer, he pointed out.
The development of the beach bars ranges from the installation of ramps for the disabled to the incorporation of glass to take advantage of light and space in the cooler months, as well as a commitment to new technologies.
From the “ugly duckling” to an essential pillar
Tourists, for example, like to be able to consult the menu in their language on their own phone through a QR code, he pointed out.
In Andalusia it is estimated that there are some 3,000 beach concessions -of which a thousand are beach bars- that employ between 50,000 and 60,000 people at times of greatest tourist influx, according to data from the Federation.
The segment of sun and beaches in Andalusia at Easter, often reviled, has gone from being “the ugly duckling of tourism” to a “very important leg” because it is one of the main motivations for tourists to visit the destination, he asserted. Manuel Villafaina, who has highlighted the role of his sector in “loying” these visitors.
Tourists spend many hours in its facilities: “hammocks, breakfast appetizers, lunches, and some even stay for dinner,” he stressed, and attracted by this offer there are those who have been visiting Andalusia “for four decades, already with grandchildren or great-grandchildren ”.
Through gastronomy, they have also contributed to the differentiation of the destination. At first, the tourist who ended up at the beach bars “ate Spanish tortilla, paella and some meat, but he ate little fried fish or seafood,” he recalled.
The businessmen decided to tour Europe to promote these products in the countries of origin of the tourists and “today a Dutchman comes to you and asks you for anchovies with lemon, rosada with aioli or sardine skewers,” he asserted. EFE