In terms of overnight stays, only Mallorca and Tenerife were ahead of Malaga province. File image of Torremolinos. / sUR

Costa del Sol is now the third most popular coastal destination in Spain

Figures show that between January and the end of September some 4,541,789 visitors came to the area, which was only 2.5% fewer than in 2019, a record year before the pandemic

Pilar Martínez
PILAR MARTÍNEZ MALAGA.

The Costa del Sol is the third most popular coastal destination in Spain, according to a monthly report from the Tourist Board based on figures from the National Institute of Statistics. It shows that between January and the end of September this year only Palma (de Mallorca) and Barcelona recorded more visitors staying in hotels, and with regard to the length of stay the Costa del Sol was behind only Mallorca and Tenerife.

During those nine months 4,541,789 visitors came to the Costa del Sol, which was only 2.5% fewer than in 2019, a record year before the pandemic. They booked 15,055,844 overnight stays in hotels, a drop of 3.3% compared with the same period three years previously but ahead of famous destinations including Barcelona, the Costa Blanca, Costa Dorada and Costa Brava. In Andalucía only the Costa de la Luz in Cadiz province was on the list, but in tenth place.

Tourists from Spain and abroad

During the month of September hotels in Malaga province received 620,262 visitors, which was 1.8% more than the same month last year, and there was a significant increase in the number of tourists from elsewhere in Spain.

Francisco Salado, president of the Costa del Sol tourist board, said 20% more Spanish visitors had booked into hotels in September and the number of overnight says rose by 6.5% compared with a year previously.

He also pointed out that the number of tourists from international markets such as France, the Netherlands and the USA has risen this year, by 8.2% in the case of the Dutch and 6.2% more Americans compared with 2019. There were also more visitors from Denmark, Poland and Portugal.

However, he said, this is no time for the tourism authorities to drop their guard because some markets have still not recovered following the pandemic, including two of the Costa del Sol’s biggest source markets, the UK, which has registered a drop of 8%, and Germany, as 24% fewer tourists have come compared with the figures for 2019.