Public services are bursting at the seams in Spain’s biggest tourist magnets

by Lorraine Williamson
Tourist magnet

MADRID – The eight ‘golden oldies’ among the touristic coastal towns in Spain cannot cope with the influx of Sol y Playa tourism. At least, their public services are bursting at the seams in the summer months. 

As an example we can take Torremolinos on the Costa del Sol: This place has almost 70,000 registered inhabitants but, as a tourist magnet, it sees its population triple in the summer. Then the number of people will not fall below 200,000, with peaks on weekends of more than 350,000 people. 

Need more resources 

Comparable it is of the biggest tourist magnets on other Spanish coasts. That’s why, in a memo published last Saturday, they’re asking for more funding to deal with that overload on their public services. This includes police services, health centres and hospitals, utilities and municipal cleaning services. 

Successful summer season with lack of money 

The eight cities that have united in the alliance of Sun and Beach Tourist Municipalities (AMT) state that they are going through another summer season without their lack of money being solved in this regard. These are;

  • Adeje (Tenerife)
  • Arona (Tenerife)
  • Benidorm (Alicante)
  • Calvià (Mallorca)
  • Lloret de Mar (Girona)
  • Salou (Tarragona)
  • San Bartolomé de Tirajana (Gran Canaria)
  • Torremolinos (Málaga)

Also read: Benidorm tourism back to pre-pandemic levels

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From 430,000 inhabitants to 8 million extra tourists 

Together, these tourist destinations have a population of 430,000 inhabitants. Based on this number, they receive funding from the state for the maintenance of their public services. That sounds reasonable, except when you consider they received nearly 8 million tourists in the last normal year before the pandemic. 

Estimates and forecasts so far this year show those numbers will at least be matched, if not increased, this summer. That means even more people claiming care, more police officers needed to maintain order, more traffic on the road, more water and electricity consumption and more pressure on water treatment companies. 

Municipalities together account for 19% of all hotel stays 

The municipalities together represent 0.9% of the total population of Spain but receive 9% of all tourist occupations. In addition, they provide 15% of all regulated accommodation in the country and account for 19% of all hotel stays from international tourism. 

The Sol y Playa entity, calls the role of these municipalities “fundamental” in the contribution to the national GDP and emphasises that they are also good for the creation of 94,000 jobs. 

“We are not satisfied with just this good data. It is necessary to urge the central government to improve the financing of tourist municipalities such as Torremolinos, which contribute to increased revenues,” emphasised the Mayor of Torremolinos, Margarita del Cid. 

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