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Busy beaches

July 21, 2011 – 9:00 am

Conil de la Frontera's beach (off season).

July is high holiday season here in Andalucia, and half of Seville has decamped to the beach. Many of these have gone to either Chipiona or Chiclana, the two favourite seaside towns in Cadiz province.

The front cover of a recent edition of one national newspaper (provincial version) showed a beach so crowded you could barely glimpse grain of sand – just parasols, tables and chairs – like a massive outdoor dining room.

All good news for the economy – apparently hotel occupation overall is up on last year. In Huelva, it’s around the same as last year – 95%, or 20,000 rooms filled, which is the highest figure in Andalucia.

In Cadiz, it’s expected to go over 90% in August, thereby exceeding 2010’s figures; July was (unofficially) 85%. Holiday apartment rentals have increased by 26%, thanks to a reduction in prices of 15% compared to last year. Apparently, the most popular destinations in Cadiz are Chiclana, Conil, Rota, Tarifa and El Puerto de Santa Maria.

An unusual sight: an empty beach in Chipiona(the restaurant's pretty packed, though).

Malaga’s figures aren’t quite so healthy, with a predicted 68.5%, which is 4% up on last year. The Costa del Sol Hotels Association, which represents 85% of the province’s hotels (by number of rooms), reckons July will be 2.5% better than 2010, August 2.15% and September even better, with an increase of 3.9%.

Tarifa's beach with kitesurfers.

Granada and Almeria are a whopping 35% higher than last year, with hotels on the Costa Tropical enjoying 90% occupancy.

I also read that the viajero ingles, the English traveller, is coming back to Andalucia after a period away. These tend to book quite far ahead, whereas the national tourists leave it till the last minute, so figures may be healthier than predicted for August and September.

So if you haven’t booked your summer holiday yet, and were thinking about a fortnight at one of Andalucia’s wonderful beaches, then now you know – it’s the place to be, so come and join in the fun!

Playa de los Genoveses in Almeria - in August.

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