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More British tourists head to the Costa, despite the threat of a hard Brexit

Tourists outside the Arrivals area at Malaga Airport.
Tourists outside the Arrivals area at Malaga Airport. / MIGUE FERNÁNDEZ
  • In the first six months of this year 3.4% more visitors flew into Malaga Airport from the UK than the same period in 2018

The possibility of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October does not appear to be affecting British tourism to the Costa del Sol. In fact, the latest figures show that Malaga province is still proving extremely attractive to British tourists and there is no sign of that changing in the future.

The tourist board for the area, Turismo Costa del Sol, has just published its figures for the first half of this year and its expectations for the second half. In both cases, there is a considerable increase in British tourists. Between January and June, the number who flew into Malaga Airport went up by 3.4 per cent compared with the same period last year. For the moment, at least, the Costa del Sol is experiencing another increase in tourism despite the probable divorce pending between Britain and the EU.

The total number of travellers from the UK between January and June 2019 was 1,366,786. In comparison with the rest of the provinces in Andalucía, Malaga also maintains a clear lead. At a regional level, the increase in British tourists was around 1.4 per cent.

For Francisco Salado, the president of the Malaga provincial government and the head of Turismo Costa del Sol, this is a clearly positive sign. “It shows that a possible Brexit is not affecting the numbers of tourists from the UK,” he told a press conference.

Salado also spoke about the expectations for the rest of this year. According to the figures, the UK will remain the principal foreign source market for the Costa del Sol. He said he hoped that by the end of the year the number of British visitors arriving by air will have passed one and a half million for the first time. If this is achieved, the growth in British tourism at the end of 2019 would be 4.6 per cent higher than last year.

Forecasts

"We are going to continue being the favourite destination for the British," said Salado about future expectations, and he doesn't believe that possible inconveniences which could arise as a result of Brexit, such as stricter passport controls, would put tourists off.

The statistics provided by Turismo Costa del Sol also provided information about other markets and the classic formula prevails: after British tourists, the highest numbers of visitors were German, French and Italian.

Despite the optimism shown by the tourism authorities, there was one slightly negative figure which nobody should ignore. British travellers are continuing to holiday here, but the length of stay is reducing, albeit only slightly at the moment.