The teams who spend the winter on the Costa del Sol during their mid-season break are not just tourists with high spending power, such as the footballers. They always bring an entourage with them, and that also has an impact on the economy and the tourist promotion of the town. The visitors include fans and the media, who cover the clubs' activities while they are here, especially those who play in the Champions League.
This was evident from the last game between Borussia Dortmund and Standard Liège in the municipal stadium in Marbella. The game was shown on television in Germany and Belgium, covered in the media and more than 3,000 people watched it live, many of them residents of Marbella or people from other countries who took the opportunity to see these teams play at first hand.
The presence of these clubs in the province also attracts fans who follow the teams here and supporters who live in Spain.
Germans form one of the largest communities of foreign residents on the Costa del Sol, and more German teams come here than almost any other nationality. In the three months of this pre-season period, eleven teams from Germany will be here, which is 16.4 per cent of the total.
There are also a good number of teams from countries from which there has been an increase in tourists in recent years.
This year 10.44 per cent of clubs who come here are Norwegian, while the Russians, who normally prolong their training period because of the climate in their own country, account for 7.46 per cent.
However, the country from which the largest number of teams are visiting is Switzerland. In total, 13 Swiss clubs have been or will be on the Costa del Sol, including the league champion of that country, FC Basel.
This is a form of reciprocal tourism, which corresponds to sporting factors. During the summer, Switzerland is one of the countries which is most popular with European teams who want to spend time away at that time of year.
The growing importance of Asian leagues in sport and in financial terms in recent years has meant that their pre-season periods are now similar to those of European clubs.
This year, four Asian teams have visited the Costa del Sol and they are most popular with the hotels because while the other teams normally spend one or two weeks here, these come for nearly a month, with the exception of FC Kairat (from Uzbekistan), who will only be spending two weeks in Mijas.
For several years now, these stays have been made possible on the Costa del Sol through Football Impact, which works with the teams and the hotels and organises everything they need for a visit to Malaga province during the early months of the year.
Among the destinations chosen by the clubs, Marbella is the most in demand. About 52.86 per cent of them book here, while 22.85 per cent choose Estepona. The remainder stay nearby in places such as Benahavis and Mijas, about 8.57 per cent of clubs in each.
Some clubs also opt for rural destinations such as Alhaurín el Grande, where 7.14 per cent of the teams go to train.