Inland tourism in Malaga province has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic with the loss of 648 million euros in revenue in 2020 - a drop of around 69 per cent on the previous year - according to the provincial government.
The Diputacíon's president, Francisco Salado, acknowledged that 2020 had been a "bad year" for rural tourism, although he said that despite the Covid-19 crisis, the supply of accommodation had grown by five per cent and the drop in its indicators had been lower than the average of the Costa del Sol.
He pointed out that last year 426,000 tourists visited inland towns, 63.5 per cent fewer than in 2019, when 1.1 million travellers were recorded. Salado estimated 66,520 travellers stayed in houses and rural properties, 51.1 per cent less than the previous year. Hence, 409,000 overnight stays were lost as reservations fell by 56.8 per cent to around 311,000.
"This is very difficult data, but with respect to the average fall of tourism in the province we can say that that this sector is the one that has performed the best. The impression that nature tourism has partially cushioned the blow of the pandemic is confirmed," Salado said.
"We are going to continue betting on inland and nature tourism, leading the province's green revolution and as a way to combat depopulation because this industry creates jobs and wealth," Salado added.
Salado was speaking at an event alongside the mayors of Canillas de Aceituno and Sedella, Vicente Campos and Francisco Abolafio Rodríguez, respectively, during the launch of the new promotional video of the El Saltillo suspension bridge which has become a tourist attraction with big pull.
The councillors highlighted the importance of this new attraction to the local economy, and Campos confirmed that a second suspension bridge project is being worked on in his town.