Tourists have flocked to the Costa del Sol this year. SUR
Record tourism figures on the Costa del Sol
2023: a year in the news

Record tourism figures on the Costa del Sol

Tourism and technology ·

The travel industry more than met its target of matching 2019 pre-pandemic visitor figures in 2023

Anthony Piovesan


Friday, 29 December 2023

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This year the travel industry on the Costa del Sol more than met its target of matching 2019 pre-pandemic visitor figures. Both regional government visitor figures and passenger numbers at Malaga Airport have risen significantly this year.

Record tourism year

Floodgates open as tourists pour into Malaga province


People from all over the world travelled to Malaga and wider Andalucía in droves this year as the province experienced its best year for tourism since before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019.

Up to September, destinations in the region welcomed 27.2 million holidaymakers, one million more than in the historic year of 2019, with a forecast of 33 million visitors expected by the end of the year. Between July and September alone, more than 12 million visited Andalucía, figures that had never been reached before.

That is 850,000 more visitors than last year and 600,000 more than in the pre-pandemic period. Hotels have benefited from the scores of visitors, particularly along the Costa del Sol. Aehcos, the Costa del Sol's hotels association, predicted this year to be the best in the sector's history. The average occupancy levels on the coast and across Malaga province reached 77% occupancy, 1.4% above the level of the previous record year of 2019.

Milestone reached

Record number of tourists touch down as new flights linked to Malaga

The records continued as Malaga Airport reached a new milestone in its 104-year history in 2023. For the first time it has passed the 20-million-passenger milestone in a year, with the figure at more than 21 million already this December. As a result, Malaga Airport strengthened its position as the fourth most important in the country, only preceded by Madrid, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca.

Imagen principal - Record tourism figures on the Costa del Sol
Imagen secundaria 1 - Record tourism figures on the Costa del Sol
Imagen secundaria 2 - Record tourism figures on the Costa del Sol

It comes as Malaga was connected by direct flights to more destinations than ever before, 151 across the world in the summer season. One of those routes was a new direct flight between New York and Malaga, launched on 1 June. It was the first direct flight between the two destinations in four years and paved the way for swathes of Americans and Canadians to visit the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and explore wider Andalucía.

As a result, America became a big tourist market for Malaga province, in addition to the British, Germans, Dutch, French and Italians, who continue to travel to the Costa del Sol each year. The New York flight will resume in the spring of next year.

Tourist promotion

SUR in English at the World Travel Market in London

There were plenty of achievements to point out at the World Travel Market in London in November, where SUR made another appearance along with large delegations of the Spanish tourism sector to highlight why southern Spain should be on everyone’s bucket lists heading into 2024.


Google opens cybersecurity centre in Malaga

After a three-year wait, G day finally arrived in Malaga, when Google opened its new Safety Engineering Center (GSEC) near Malaga's Muelle Uno marina on 29 November.

One of just three in the world, the centre puts the Costa del Sol at the forefront of cybersecurity, as more firms in the sector choose to set up in Malaga and its tech park.

At the helm of the centre is Bernardo Quintero, the local engineer who sold his own firm to Google in 2012 and has since played an important role in the multinational.

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