Russian tourist number one million was greeted with flowers at Malaga Airport at the end of October. M. C. J.
SUR has organised a major tourism initiative to promote Malaga and the Costa del Sol to mark the Champions League match between Zenit and Malaga CF in St Petersburg on November 21st. The initiative has the support of the Spanish Consulate in St Petersburg, Malaga City Hall and the Costa del Sol Tourist Board.
The attention and support given by SUR to the tourism sector has been inherent to the newspaper for much of its 75 year history. It is now 50 years since it started to run the ‘Aquí la Costa Sol’ page devoted entirely to tourism, and for nearly 30 years SUR has played an active role in the sector’s main international fairs, in particular the World Travel Market in London, the ITB in Berlin and Fitur in Madrid.
Now the decision to organise this event in Russia, what’s more in the country’s second most populated city (and the fourth in Europe) comes in reaction to the growing importance of the Russian market which is now playing a vital role in sustaining the area’s tourism figures.
It’s no secret that Russian tourists, with their high spending power, are particularly fond of Malaga and the Costa del Sol, and this is what has prompted SUR to join in the effort to promote this area in St Petersburg, coinciding with the Champions League match Malaga are due to play there next week against Zenit.
As part of the promotion SUR has organised an event that will bring together around 100 guests from St Petersburg’s social, cultural and financial circles as well as from its tourism industry. This will be attended by Malaga’s top tourism authorities, including Malaga Deputy Mayor, Damián Caneda, and the vice-present of the provincial government (Diputación), Francisco Oblaré, as well as other members of the Malaga delegation who will be in the city for the football match. The event will take place in the Hotel Europa and there guests will be able to sample typical cuisine and wines from Malaga (reds, whites and sweet), and enjoy a flamenco show.
Meanwhile SUR is producing 60,000 copies of a special supplement inRussian entitled ‘Living in Malaga and the Costa del Sol’ to be distributed in St Petersburg and with next week’s edition of SUR in English.
A recent survey carried out by the ITB in Berlin refers to the Russian market as one of Spain’s and more specifically the Costa del Sol’s, main customers. Similarly this province is the area that is valued most highly when it comes to buying a second home. Russian buyers are now the most important real estate investors on the Costa del Sol and among the best customers in some of the most prestigious commercial establishments in the area.
In fact Russian tourism has rocketed on the Costa del Sol with a 66 per cent increase in just six months. Marbella, the main attraction, is seeing a steady growth in a market that goes hand in hand with high spending and luxury.
This 66 per cent increase calculated by the Costa del Sol Tourist Board reveals that the Russian market is what is behind the recovery of the sector.
Arturo Bernal, manager of the Tourist Board, identifies the Russian tourist as the ideal model for the Costa del Sol.
“We have to consider sustainability and so fewer tourists spending more is preferable,” he pointed out.
In this case the preferences are clear: Russians love Marbella, an area that has a more powerful attraction than the rest of the Costa del Sol. Now the provincial, regional and national tourism authorities are planning a combination of promotion campaigns, all well aware of the importance of this new tourist, who is eager for sun, sea and sand as well as fine living with good food and leisure opportunities, a combination that the Costa del Sol is able to provide.
All this has encouraged SUR to organise this promotional event, with the collaboration of the aforementioned authorities, as well as several working meetings with members of the Spanish Tourism Office in Moscow and St Petersburg-based business associations and investors.
Also collaborating in the initiative are Famadesa, El Pimpi, Málaga Virgen and El Colmenero de Alhaurín, who are providing the local food and drink to impress the Russians.