Malaga-Costa del Sol airport experienced one of its busiest times of the year last week. :: G.P.
More than 300,000 passengers used Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport between last Wednesday (14th August) and this Monday (19th August), according to the Spanish Airport authority, AENA.
In what has been one of the busiest weeks of the year so far for the airport, 1,782 flights landed or took off, with 385 of them doing so on Saturday (17th August) – Saturday’s flights alone carried approximately 66,000 passengers. The second most active day was Friday (16th August), when 357 flights brought or took some 59,000 people through the terminals’ doors.
Of course, it is no surprise that passenger figures spike in the summer months, especially in August when schools and many workplaces throughout Europe, as well as other parts of the world, are closed or operating on reduced hours.
Similarly, these released figures from AENA relate to a period in which there is a national bank holiday and in which the highly anticipated annual Malaga fair is taking place.
With so many tourists flying in over the last few days, SUR in English went to the airport to ask recently arrived returning passengers what keeps on drawing them here.
Everyone, without fail, who was polled by this newspaper cited the climate as a major motivation for visiting this part of southern Spain.
Kath Adams who flew in from Dublin says: “We come to stay for a week every year in Marbella – although this year we’re slightly later than usual as we’ve coincided the holiday with my sister’s birthday. What keeps us coming back is the weather - you’re almost guaranteed sunshine here and we’re all sunworshippers and love the heat.”
It is a view shared by British holidaymaker, Clive Raddon. “It’s almost the nearest place to home where you’re always going to get sun, isn’t it? It’s always lovely and hot in Malaga,” he comments.
But whilst many northern European visitors are coming to Malaga specifically for their love of the warmth, many domestic tourists are flying in to escape it. Félix Rios, from Madrid, explains: “It’s just too hot in the capital, it’s good to get away in August. And whilst it’s still quite hot here there’s always the sea and it’s a bit breezier.”
But, naturally, it wasn’t just the weather that passengers highlighted as reasons for visiting.
“This is our fourth holiday here. The reason why we chose to come back this time was because there’s now a familiar feel to the place; we know where things are, and so we can hit the ground running. We don’t need to spend time exploring where the best beaches or restaurants are, as we already know. This is important as we’ve got three young kids,” says Nikki Allnutt from Norfolk, UK.
“Also - and I don’t want to sound like a heathen - but there’s lots of English products available for the children as they’re quite fussy eaters, most people speak English here so you order things easily and get about OK, and also there’s lots of other English people to meet and mix with - as we don’t speak Spanish. I know it’s [a holiday that is] not going outside of my comfort zone, but that’s alright too!”
Others told SUR in English that, besides the weather, it is the Costa del Sol’s sheer variety that is one of the major attractions.
Georgia Edwards, who arrived from London with two of her best friends, sums it up. “There’s lots to do and see here – and each area of the coast can offer something different, there’s a different ‘buzz’ in each town really, a different reason to go there.
“And on top of that, there’s so much variety within each area too. In Malaga [city] you can visit the beautiful old cathedral – do the historical thing - and then walk straight to the beach.”
“There are brilliant sports facilities, national parks, beaches of all kinds, a massive choice of nightlife from the wild to the intimate, lots of cultural activities – the list is endless – so it’s not surprising it appeals to so many different kinds of people of all ages and from all over the world.”