The Turismo Costa del Sol stand at Fitur 2023. / SALVADOR SALAS

Inland tourism in Malaga province had its best year ever in 2022

More than 1.2 million tourists chose to enjoy the natural landscapes inland from the Costa del Sol, more than before the pandemic

Pilar Martínez

The second day of the Fitur international tourism trade fair in Madrid on Thursday, 19 January, confirmed the strength of the sector as Turismo Costa del Sol announced that 2022 was the best year ever for inland tourism in Malaga province.

Areas inland from the Costa del Sol received 1,205,400 tourists last year, which is 3.2% more than the number of visitors before the pandemic. President of the tourism board, Francisco Salado, said: "The tourist expenditure in the inland area was 1,198 million, 28.2% more than in 2019," he said, adding that this dynamism has created up to 11,800 jobs, 7.3% more than before the pandemic.

The pull of those seeking this type of holiday has led to a growth in the supply of accommodation to almost 55,000 places, 12.3% more than in 2021. "In all the regions there is a significant supply of tourism companies and we are also by far the leaders in Andalucía. Malaga is the province with the highest representation of the Andalusian inland tourism offer, with 34.3% of the total, higher than that of the inland provinces of Almeria, Granada, Huelva, Jaen and Seville together," Salado said.

Green Corridor

New projects announced by the president of the tourism body include a Guadalhorce Green Corridor, which will be the largest river park in Spain with a 54-kilometre route, linking two natural areas: the mouth of the Guadalhorce River and the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes, where the famous Caminito del Rey is located. Salado said the project "involves the environmental and landscape recovery of the riverbanks and its tributaries and streams; the development of trails; the construction of 16 new bridges and walkways; the implementation of a 'Bike Territory' seal, as well as visitor and nature interpretation centres. Visitors can prepare for their visit on the website"

Salado also announced an upgrade projects to an app for visitors and walkers, launched two years ago, which now is all geo-referenced to guide hikers along their routes and to aid visitors to archaeological sites and other points of interest.

The regional minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Arturo Bernal, also presented Andalucía's strategy of connecting tourism, culture and sport and pointed out that enjoying the cultural offer is the main motivation for three out of every ten tourists who choose the region and is among the main motivations for 85% of visitors.

Bernal said that the aim is to "give even more weight to these three activities, which together account for almost 20% of our GDP".