Malaga Airport / sur

Recovery is slow for the Costa del Sol’s international tourism sector

But rural houses and camping sites are doing better than ever thanks to the arrival of domestic tourists in Malaga province

Pilar Martínez

Tourism on the Costa del Sol is facing a slow recovery and occupancy rates are sluggish compared to 2019. However, rural houses and campsites are doing unexpectedly well.

2021 closed with 15.6 million overnight stays compared to almost 30 million in 2019, that amounts to 41 per cent less tourists and a 46 per cent fall in the number of nights booked.

International tourism fell by 63 per cent in 2021 compared to 2019, or a loss over 13.3 overnight reservations.

The number of Britons visiting the Costa del Sol dropped by 76 percent to 680,730 tourists in 20021, while the number of German tourists decreased by 55 per cent to just 353,000.

However, the drop in domestic tourism has been minimal and accounted for 7.7 million overnight stays.

Rural houses and campsites have been the domestic tourism winners. The number of stays at 'casa rurales' increased by 52 per cent and the number of stays at campsites increased by 8.4 per cent in 2021 compared to 2019 suggesting that domestic tourists are seeking uncrowded spaces and open air.

Despite the Covid-19 crisis, the number of beds available grew by 12.12 per cent and the number of establishments offering accommodation grew by 18 per cent in 20021 compared to 2019.