The UK is the principal source market for tourism on the Costa del Sol, accounting for 30 per cent of arrivals at Malaga airport and 28 per cent of stays in hotels. However, the pandemic has highlighted the need to focus on other countries, where visitors have more money to travel and are likely to stay longer, to reduce the dependence on the British market and try to return income from tourism to the level it was at in 2019.
The president of the Costa del Sol tourist board, Francisco Salado, says the idea is not to abandon traditional source markets, but the authorities are planning an unprecedented campaign to widen the field and will be spending 1,600,000 euros on promotional campaigns and activities in the markets which were most successful last year in terms of visitors.
In 2021, visitors to Malaga province from Germany increased by 87.6 per cent compared with 2020, to 353,431, and there were 69 per cent more tourists from France than in the previous year: 291,780. The numbers of people coming from Belgium, Denmark and Sweden were also significantly higher.
Salado says that for German tourists quality is more important than the price and sustainability, and on average they stay for 8.58 days and spend 1,157 euros on their holiday, while Belgians tend to stay for around ten days and also spend more than 1,000 euros. This is similar to the experience of Danish and Swedish tourists, who spend an average of 1,330 euros and stay for about ten days, while visitors from France tend to stay for an average of 7.53 days and spend 761 euros.
The aim of the authorities now is to promote the Costa del Sol as a place for year-round tourism, which has much more than sunshine and beaches to enjoy. The campaign will begin in mid-March in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and later in France, the Benelux countries, Scandinavia and Poland.