The Costa del Sol is going in search of more German tourists in the winter at the ITB travel fair in Berlin, from a market which suffers low temperatures at this time of year and could enjoy a continual spring if they were to come to Malaga province.
The president of Turismo Costa del Sol, Elías Bendodo, said this week that at this year's ITB, which begins on 7 March, the tourism authorities will be focusing on selling the destination as a great place to visit in winter and a paradise for lovers of golf, culture and nature. He explained that the numbers of German tourists increased by 13.5 per cent last year, and 900,000 came to the Costa del Sol for a holiday, of whom more than 300,000 stayed in hotels. The figure means that this destination received one-third of all the German visitors who came to Andalucía.
“In what was the Costa del Sol's best year ever for tourism, German visitors generated income of 1.5 billion euros. It is important to bear in mind that Malaga prospers thanks to tourism, and the money that people spend, consume and invest during their stays,” he said.
Bendodo pointed out that Germany is the second most important source market for the Costa, and that is why the area would be represented at the ITB from 7 to 11 March.
“The ITB is a great opportunity to consolidate this growth. German tourists love history and nature, so the Great Trail and the Caminito del Rey are major attractions,” he explained, and said the aim is to attract German visitors in the autumn and winter, especially.
With this in mind, the Costa del Sol tourist board has prepared a publicity campaign for the tourism fair, on one of the most important TV channels and in cinemas. Also, in September, another campaign will be carried out at travel agencies and on trains.
The representatives from the Costa del Sol have a busy agenda ahead at the ITB, with 50 meetings to try to reach agreements with airlines and tour operators. “To achieve our aim of increasing the volume of business for the Costa, the tour operator has to be our ally. We hope to sign agreements with Germania, TUI, Olimara and TSS Group, among others,” he said.
Bendodo explained that another objective is to differentiate the Costa del Sol from its competitors Tunisia, Turkey, Greece and Egypt, at a time when these are recovering. He believes it is necessary to improve the air connections between Germany and the Costa, especially since Air Berlin went bankrupt.
The Costa del Sol receives 3.8 per cent of all German visitors who stay in hotels in Spain and 32.9 per cent of those in Andalucía, which is why it is so imporant to highlight the hotels in the province to the German market.
Last year, six major German airports were the departure points for three out of every four passengers who flew to Malaga from that country. These were Frankfurt, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Munich, Hamburg and Cologne.
Eight out of every ten Germans who come to the Costa del Sol are attracted by the sunshine and beaches, 27 per cent by the culture and 14 per cent to enjoy the rural areas of the province. These are very active tourists: more than 77 per cent of them visit other municipalities during their stay, and on average they go to two. With regard to the level of satisfaction, they seem very happy with their experience, scoring it over nine points on a scale of one to ten. In fact, 97 per cent say they would recommend the destination to relatives and friends.