Check-in desks at Malaga Airport. / sur

Costa del Sol wants more tourists from EU countries to reduce its reliance on UK

While not turning its back on British holidaymakers, the Tourist Board is carrying out an intensive campaign in countries whose tourists spend more and stay longer

Pilar Martínez
PILAR MARTÍNEZ

The United Kingdom has long been the principal market for Costa del Sol tourism, and in recent years it has represented 30 per cent of airport arrivals and 28 per cent of hotel stays. However, the pandemic has highlighted the need for the tourism authorities to place more emphasis on other countries, whose tourists spend more and stay longer than the British. They want the Costa to earn as much from tourism this year as in 2019 even though two million fewer visitors are expected.

With this aim in mind, the Costa del Sol Tourist Board is looking at ways to attract markets which have responded well during the Covid crisis and which are profitable. British tourists are not being forgotten, but Tourist Board president Francisco Salado says that “we are going to carry out an unprecedented offensive to avoid excessive reliance on markets such as the UK”. The plan is to spend 1.6 million euros on promotion campaigns in the markets that responded best in 2021.

Diversify and reduce risks

The aim is to diversify, reduce risks and commit to markets such as Germany, from where 353,431 visitors arrived last year (an 87.6% increase on 2020), France, with 291,780 tourists (up 69%), Belgium with 244,244, which was 86% more, Denmark, with 203,272 visitors and an increase of 131%, and Sweden, with 184,111 visitors last year which was 86% more than in 2020.

Germans spend more and stay longer

These clients tend to spend more – German visitors, for example, spend an average of 1,157 euros on their holiday – and stay for longer than the British (8.58 days). Danish, Swedish and Belgian tourists all spend more than 1,000 euros on average, and stay for around ten days.

Salado says the objective of these campaigns “is to position the Costa as an interesting destination 365 days a year, and make people aware not only of our sunshine and beaches but our rural tourism attractions, gastronomy, culture and golf”.

Return to pre-pandemic levels

One of the campaigns which is just beginning is aimed at potential visitors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and it will be followed by others in France, the Benelux countries, Scandinavia and Poland. The challenge is to get tourism back to pre-pandemic levels this year, and the Tourist Board is determined to achieve it.