HOTEL occupancy figures for the Costa Blanca in January saw an annual rise of 26.6%, with a total of 47.3%.

The numbers from the Alicante Province Association of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation(APHA) released on Thursday show that 54.4% of hotel stays last month came from United Kingdom visitors, followed by tourists from the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Germany.

The occupancy level, though improving, was still 8.7% lower than January 2020 before the pandemic struck.

An APHA statement said the two-year difference would have been narrower had it not been for the presence of the Omricon COVID variant which ‘curbed the desire to travel’.

The annual improvement of over 26% was no surprise as the Costa Blanca was in the midst of major COVID restrictions a year ago.

Those included regional and city border closures; curfews; and the closure of hospitality and nightlife businesses, all of which meant little demand for hotel bookings.

APHA reported significant variations within the region for January occupancy with Guardamar leading the way on 77% followed by San Juan de Alicante on 67% and Javea with 55%.

The association added they are ‘somewhat more optimistic’ more optimistic for February but that they don’t expect a quick return to pre-pandemic hotel occupancy levels.

Instead they believe the figures will get better ‘gradually’ as improvements continue to be based on the health situation.

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