(CNN) — It’s Spain’s Mediterranean escape, a place that for decades has been the go-to spot for jet setters, party lovers, and package vacationers keen to let their hair down and enjoy sun, sea, and sand in abundance., the Costa del Sol has suffered dramatically over the past 18 months, with tourist numbers slumping due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, though, as restrictions on travel ease, this bold and beautiful part of is enjoying a much-needed resurgence. Something the owners of bars, hotels, and restaurants are delighted about.
The Costa del Sol has long attracted vacationers from all walks of life. Since the 1970s, Brits, in particular, have flocked to the Costa del Sol for a week of guaranteed good weather with all the trappings of home, from endless pints of lager to a full English breakfast. For some, the urge to stay longer than a week is too great. And Laura Hutchinson is one of them. Hutchinson and herin Hertfordshire, just north of London, and decided to follow their dream of opening a bar in their favorite part of Spain. Then the .
A place to be free
Experience a front-seat view of southern Spain’s jet-set getaway with a royal insider. It’s the same for thoseof Torremolinos. The town, which is once again bustling after a quiet year, is a mecca for LGBTQ tourists in particular and famed for its inclusivity. In July 2021, tourists were back in . David Gomez Garcia is the manager of Torremolinos’ first gay hotel, Hotel Ritual Torremolinos, and is proud of its status as a place where safe.
“It means freedom,” he says of the town. “The possibility to be yourself, a place where no one can do anything bad to you. You can hold hands and kiss, or you can be yourself.” Torremolinos has a long LGBTQ history. In 1971, the town’s gay population was subject to a, with the dictator acting to clamp down on the freedom for which the town had come to be known during the 1960s.
“Since the ’60s, when the first tourist boom started in Torremolinos, people could feel free to walk around. It doesn’t matter which identity or sexuality you are or whatever. And it was a mixture of classes.” In the wake of the 1969 New York Stonewall riots, Franco decided to end such freedoms. Over 300for “violating good morals and manners,” and Torremolinos was laid low until the end of the dictatorship in the late 1970s. Yet as the Brits arrived, so did the new dawn for Torremolinos and the Costa del Sol.