Busy check-in desks at Malaga. / ÑITO SALAS

Airlines offer more than three million seats to fly to the Costa del Sol

There has been an increase in the number of foreign tourists arriving at Malaga airport and the United Kingdom has regained its position as the main issuing market, in the latest data until the end of the year

PILAR MARTÍNEZ

National tourism, the backbone of the recovery of the holiday market on the Costa del Sol this summer, has been joined since the middle of last month by a greater presence of foreign tourists.

There are clear indicators that the coast and Malaga province is starting to receive more foreign traveller who arrive thanks to the commitment of the main European airlines, which have scheduled than three million seats to fly to Malaga airport during this last four-month period of the year.

The data provided by Costa del Sol Tourism shows the number of seats on offer to be 3,064,969, a figure that represents 163.6 per cent more than in 2020, a year in which most countries maintained strong coronavirus restrictions that limited international mobility.

Of this total number of seats, the offer from October to the end of December is estimated at 2,101,481, and the president of Costa del Sol Tourism, Francisco Salado, said that almost 90 per cent of the capacity offered in 2019 (2,332,319 seats) will be recovered. Of these, 481,834 will come from the United Kingdom, more than 400,000 will be from national airports and about 150,000 will arrive from Germany.

United Kingdom market

The United Kingdom will be the main issuing market this winter, despite the fact that from the end of July of last year until twelve months later it maintained a ten-day quarantine for travellers arriving from Spain. The easing of restrictions, which still includes a mandatory antigen test on the second day upon landing back in Britain, has allowed the United Kingdom to regain its leading role as the main international issuer. The Costa del Sol Tourism data shows 776,824 seats on offer from fifteen British airports between September and December.

Domestic tourism

After the British market, domestic tourism maintains a strong presence. During the worst months of the pandemic many airlines focused on national connections within Spain with many Spanish holidaymakers unwilling or unable to travel abroad. For this reason, during this last stretch of the year Spain is the second-largest issuing market with 574,012 seats available to fly to the Costa del Sol.

The strength of the Dutch market, which the tourism sector of the Costa del Sol has been noticing since the beginning of the summer, is maintained and the Netherlands surpasses Germany and France, markets that have long rivalled each other for the second position of international issuers, with a total of 206,964 seats on routes from Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Rotterdam.

Scandinavian countries add 352,332 seats, recovering the prominence that these markets had in the early days of tourism in the province.

Germany drops position in the table with connections from a dozen German airports with 199,931 seats on offer. Close behind in the market for foreign tourists is France, with 156,727 seats and routes from a dozen French cities on offer. Following are Belgium, with 129,908 places; Morocco, with 119,243; and Italy, with 114,747.