Holidaymakers in one of the swimming pools at the Holiday World complex in Benalmádena. Marilú Báez
Record accommodation booking numbers on the Costa del Sol: more than eight million overnight stays

Record accommodation booking numbers on the Costa del Sol: more than eight million overnight stays

Bookings by foreign tourists in hotels, apartments, rural houses and campsites soared by 18.4% between January and April this year compared to the same period last year, offsetting the five-point drop in bookings from people in Spain.

Pilar Martínez


Thursday, 6 June 2024, 14:39

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Month after month, accommodation in Malaga province including the Costa del Sol has been breaking records. For the first time, between January and April this year, there were eight million overnight stays in the area. The figure covers officially rated hotels, apartments, rural houses and campsites but does not cover Airbnb-style private holiday lettings, meaning the real figure for overnight stays will be even higher.

The data comes from the latest market report from the local tourist board, Turismo Costa del Sol, and highlights the strong surge in international tourism as the main reason why hotels, apartments, rural houses and campsites added 858,226 more overnight stays than in the first four months of 2023 - a 12% increase compared to the previous best year on record.

The report demonstrates the good health of the tourist industry considering that this period included the two least busy months of the year, January and February, and a washout Easter. The figure of 8,010,003 stays in all rated accommodation types in the first four months of the year is further proof that the Costa is getting better in the fight against seasonality and how tourism flow is increasingly distributed throughout the year. It's worth noting that during the three busiest months for tourists, from June to August, last summer saw 10.4 million nights reserved.

The data also confirms the strength of the main international markets and other emerging ones that have stepped up the pace. Overnight stays by foreign travellers have increased by 18.4% compared to the same period in 2023, generating more than 6.1 million booked nights between January and April. It was a boost that offset the downward trend in domestic tourism, which has seen a drop off of 5.3% - almost 102,000 fewer stays.

Turismo Costa del Sol highlighted the rise in visitors from Poland, with 89.4% more tourists; Ireland, with 38.2%; and Portugal, with 19.5%. It is also worth mentioning the 13.3% increase in tourists from Britain.

The figure for the month of April on its own confirms the boom in international tourism on the Costa del Sol. Compared to 2023, the sector is seeing growth across almost all measures. Poland, Ireland, Sweden and the United States were the markets with the greatest increase in the number of travellers staying in the province. There was also a 5.1% growth in the main international outbound market, the United Kingdom.

"The positive data consolidates the position of the Costa del Sol as a key tourist destination for international travellers, with a significant impact on the local economy," said Turismo Costa del Sol. Esperanza González, head of this public sector company said, "We are delighted we are maintaining the growth we have been experiencing since the beginning of the year.”

The good results also reveal other data which demonstrates the impact tourism has on employment and the economy of the province. The hotel sector alone has generated 11.6% more jobs from January to April - almost 13,000. And in the province during these months the volume of accommodation establishments has grown by 6.1% and bed numbers have increased by 4.26% to almost 610,000.

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