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Beachgoers enjoying good weather at La Malagueta beach in Malaga city (file image). Salvador Salas
2023, officially the best year in history for tourism on the Costa del Sol
Tourism

2023, officially the best year in history for tourism on the Costa del Sol

Some 14 million tourists flocked to Malaga province and pumped millions of euros into the local economy, but one major factor could threaten the tourism season in 2024

Matías Stuber

Malaga

Friday, 5 January 2024, 11:02

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Last year was officially Malaga's best year for tourism in history after a record number of visitors swarmed to the Costa del Sol.

Some 14 million tourists visited the province, a historic figure. It's 12% more than in 2022 and a million more tourists than 2019, previously the province's best year for tourism.

According to the figures revealed by Malaga's provincial authority head and head of Turismo Costa del Sol, Francisco Salado, international tourists played a big role with foreign visitors staying in hotels and tourist flats in the province increasing by 9.9% compared to 2022. The data also shows a notable recovery in the German market.

The main markets are showing double-digit percentage increases, with a very notable recovery in the German market. In total, the number of foreigners staying in hotels and tourist flats increased by 9.9% compared to 2022. The number of domestic visitors to Malaga province however decreased by 3.4% in 2023 compared to 2022.

Extraordinary performance of the international market

"We have said goodbye to 2023 and as it deserved, it is the best year for tourism, both in terms of visitor numbers, profitability and employment. 2019 is no longer our benchmark," Salado said. "The key to the good results is due to the extraordinary performance of the international market," he added.

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The economic impact of the swathes of tourists has been put at 19,137 million euros, while the number of workers linked to the sector in Malaga province is 128,430, 4.1% more than in 2022, according to the figures.

The number of German tourists increased by 24.7% compared to 2022, meanwhile those from the United States rose by 26.2%. There were 33% more Italians in Malaga in 2023, 4.2% more Brits, 4.9% more Dutch and 13.8% more Irish visitors.

Drought, the big threat for 2024

Looking ahead to 2024, Salado said the objective is to improve on the figures from 2023, however drought poses a major threat to this. Without water for showers, without the capacity to fill swimming pools or with restrictions on the hotel industry, the tourist outlook for 2024 is gloomy. "We could go from a record year to a 2024-to-forget," Salado pointed out.

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