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Tourists walk to their accommodation along Malaga's promenade Salvador Salas
Tourism chief hits back and warns of the danger of anti-holidaymaker campaigns on the Costa del Sol
Tourism

Tourism chief hits back and warns of the danger of anti-holidaymaker campaigns on the Costa del Sol

Francisco Salado, head of Turismo Costa del Sol, is forecasting another bumper summer and expects the sector to close another year breaking visitor number records

Pilar Martínez

Malaga

Monday, 24 June 2024, 16:46

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The Turismo Costa del Sol tourism board has hit back at anti-holidaymaker campaigns and strongly urged local people against taking part in them.

The organisation's president Francisco Salado has called on various local administrations to put an end to the main problems blamed on the tourism sector, such as a lack of housing and extra demand on transport.

Together with members of the Turismo Costa del Sol standing committee, representatives of the main associations of the tourism sector in Malaga province, Salado pointed out public-private collaboration as a large part of the success of the destination's popularity.

"The Costa del Sol is not only a leading tourist destination worldwide, but also a first class economic and social driver. Thanks to tourism, thousands of people from Malaga over several generations have progressed, studied and undertaken their careers. Thanks to tourism, more than 19 billion euros of economic activity is generated in our province every year. We have to be very aware of what these more than 14 million visitors that we received in 2023 will bring us, a figure that we are going to exceed by far this year," Salado added.

He also warned of the "extremely serious danger that tourism phobia poses for the economy, and for the more than 124,000 jobs that tourism generates every year in Malaga province". "We believe that the vast majority of local residents are aware of the importance of tourism and how sensitive our industry is to any reputation crisis," Salado added.

Salado said it is an "enormous irresponsibility" to encourage campaigns against tourists, such as calls to tell tourists they are not welcome, and blaming the sector for issues which Salado said come down to "a lack of investment". "Tourism is not to blame for the fact that the Costa del Sol train is not being built, that new motorways are not being built, that the necessary desalination plants are not being built on time, or that the thousands of subsidised housing units promised by the government every time an election campaign arrives are not being built," he said. "If tourists from our main markets question whether they are going to be well received in the destination we will be shooting ourselves in the foot with terrible consequences."

Salado said the key to solving these issues is more public investment. He pointed out the problems cannot be blamed solely on tourism, but also on the boom in sectors such as technology and construction. Salado called on the central government, the Junta de Andalucía and town halls to do their homework. "Let us all take care of this sector because it is the envy of many other regions," he said.

Salado pointed out the income obtained in the main sectors thanks to tourist spending, highlighting the primary sector, with 337 million euros; the industrial sector, with 2.78 billion; the food, drink and tobacco sector, (1.08 billion); energy, gas and water (601) million; commerce (2.37 billion) and transport (5.2 billion).

He also pointed out the impact of tourism on the financial and banking sector, with 1,348 billion euros, and on sporting, cultural and recreational activities, with 329 million euros. "In other words, 14,233 billion euros brought to us by these 14 million visitors," Salado said.

Forecasts

Salado said the Costa del Sol expects a better summer and to close another year breaking records. He pointed out that these milestones will be reached with a better distribution of visitors throughout the year, following a strong increase in tourists in the first four months of the year and the expectations of higher than usual arrivals in September, October and November.

Salado said many foreign tourists are making their bookings outside July and August to enjoy the tranquillity of the destination and avoid high temperatures. He pointed that from 1 June to 30 September there will be 10.8% extra plane seats on offer, which is about 5.6 million airline seats to fly to the Costa del Sol. Connections to national airports are also expected to increase by 922,000 seats, an increase of 6%.

Salado said tourists from the usual countries of origin will grow, predicting 6.5% more British visitors; 15.7% more Germans; 13% more French and tourists from the Netherlands. Salado also pointed out an increase of 24% in the number of seats available for flights between Italy and Malaga Airport. This comes as the number of visitors arriving at regulated tourist accommodation in Malaga province rose by 8.1%, reaching 2.2 million, in the first four months of this year.

These tourists have generated, from January to April, a total of eight million overnight stays, 12% more, or 858,000 more than in the first four months of the previous year. Foreigners contributed to 18.4% more nights booked, while those of Spaniards fell by 5.3%.

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