The manager of one of the Costa del Sol’s most emblematic hotels is feeling ‘more optimistic than ever’ as tourists finally return to Spain. 

After a very tough 18 months, the tourism industry is starting to get back to ‘some kind of normality’ Sunset Beach Club boss Mark Wardell (pictured above) told the Olive Press.

The Irish-owned hotel in Benalmadena is finally starting to get back to its former staffing levels of 180 employees, who usually cater to over 2000 tourists at this time of year.

“We are back up to 120 staff and gradually things are starting to pick up again. 

Mark Wardell

“We’ve seen an improvement this month and then in September we will see a return to some kind of normality. We are very optimistic about that. Actually we’re feeling stronger than ever.” 

In particular he is bullish on a recovery in the hotel industry as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available.

While bookings will continue to face headwinds over the next few months, more consumers will be confident and ready to take trips, he explained. 

The 4-star hotel, whose sisters include the Castleknock Hotel and the Heritage Hotel and Spa in Ireland, has mostly been serving Spanish customers this summer.

“But we’ve also had some guests from elsewhere in Europe and are getting ready to welcome a lot more,” adds the father-of-three, who lives in Benahavis.

“The lack of certainty over travel restrictions and tests has made the UK market more hesitant but there is definitely a real pent up demand and I think we’ll be busier than ever come September or October.” 

He adds: “The last year has really given us all some perspective and made everyone appreciate things more and I truly believe the tourism industry will come back stronger than ever. 

“People are really looking for a better quality of life, whether for a holiday or a more permanent move, and it’s clear that Spain can offer that. 

“The spotlight is back on the Costa del Sol and we’re going to see demand skyrocket. There’s no better place to live after all.” 

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