Andalucía is represented at London's ExCel centre today, 7 November. / SALVADOR SALAS

Andalucía and the Costa del Sol embark on a three-day challenge in London to recover British tourist figures

The World Travel Market kicks off this Monday at the ExCel centre, where authorities and tourism professionals from the south of Spain hope to make key deals to bring more holidaymakers in 2023

Pilar Martínez

Andalucía, the Costa del Sol, Malaga and the main tourist resorts are in London this week with one common aim: to make sure 2023 is the  year of the total recovery of British tourism. In the first nine months of this year, the 1.8 million tourists who passed through Malaga Airport were 20 percentage points below the  numbers from 2019 and almost 15 per cent fewer tourists stayed in hotels and apartments in Malaga province.

The Costa del Sol tourism authority has announced the biggest investment this year in an attempt to recover the market. The president of the authority, Francisco Salado, said this week that British tourists  were more important than ever to the Costa del Sol, especially with new circumstances caused by Brexit, that limit stays to 90 days, that complicate controls at airports, as well as the weakened pound and political instability that could be dragging the holiday decisions of  families.

The  Costa del Sol has a 200-square-metre stand at the World Travel Market, alongside the 550-square-metre Andalucía section, opened today by the president of the Junta, Juanma Moreno, and the regional minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Arturo Bernal.

At his first World Travel Market as minister, Bernal has expressed his confidence in the British market and that the region will be able to recover the three million British tourists who came to Andalucía in 2019.Part of the strategy is to reach new types of tourist, such as digital nomads and those heading to warmer climes to escape high fuel bills in their home countries.

Meanwhile the mayor of Malaga is also in London to open the city's stand, where the Picasso Year 2023, the bid to host Expo 2027 and the Davis Cup later this month are expected to attract British visitors.

The Andalusian delegation at the World Travel Market this year is formed not just by tourism authorities but also dozens of industry professionals who will be busy at London's Excel centre over the next three days, meeting with tour operators and travel agents with the target of shaping a positive 2023, recovering the record figures of British tourists in 2019. SUR and SUR in English are also there.