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Costa del Sol's leisure park sector forecasts a bumper summer
Tourism

Costa del Sol's leisure park sector forecasts a bumper summer

The sector attracts five million tourists a year to Malaga province and generates some 145 million euros

Pilar Martínez

Malaga

Monday, 27 May 2024, 11:12

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The Costa del Sol's leisure parks are forecasting a better summer and predict that 2024 will close with better results than last year, which was the best in the history of tourism in Malaga province.

This was announced by José Yagüe, president of the provincial association of businesses and leisure parks of the Costa del Sol (Apeco), at the gala of the first edition of the awards of this group, an event that brought together nearly a hundred tourism officials from different administrations, entrepreneurs and professionals of tour operators and passenger transport.

Yagüe highlighted the importance of the leisure parks for the destination, which, according to a recent study, attract five million visitors a year and which generate 145 million euros. The 28 leisure complexes associated with Apeco, of the 36 in the province, also employ 1,500 workers. "Although we don't work with forecasts, because our clients decide to visit us a day or two in advance, we are confident due to the good occupancy figures that the hotels are predicting and in the upward forecasts at Malaga Airport. We hope to improve on last summer's figures and exceed those for the whole of 2023", he said.

In his speech, Yagüe demanded an urgent improvement in mobility on the coast, pointing out that this problem is already affecting the destination and the leisure sector in particular. "When holidaymakers experience queues on the roads, the first thing they do is stop moving along the coast, which means that they rule out travelling to the leisure centres," he said. In addition, he called for these businesses to be considered as a tourist activity in order to stop paying 21 per cent IVA (Spain's sales tax), to align them with the ten per cent for tourism.

Yagüe stressed that international tourism is key for these facilities and highlighted the fact that 66 per cent of the visitors to these leisure parks are foreigners. "Tourists visit an average of two to three parks during their stay. Leisure is what makes this destination great, with a diversity of alternatives, so many want to return to visit the ones they were unable to visit previously," he stressed.

Award winners

Turismo Costa del Sol was one of the award winners for its support to this sector. The president of this public company, Francisco Salado, underlined the importance of the leisure segment for the destination and the need to continue working on public-private collaboration to maintain the province's tourism excellence. After expressing his joy at receiving the award, he highlighted the success of the co-governance model that "is essential to position our destination at high levels of excellence".

Salado collected the award for supporting the leisure sector on the Costa del Sol.
Salado collected the award for supporting the leisure sector on the Costa del Sol. SUR

Salado considered this sector to be strategic and pointed to data that confirms this, such as the fact that one in three tourists have leisure as their main motivation for visiting the Costa del Sol, and 96.8 per cent of them rate their experience as positive or very positive.

However, he also pointed out that there are still challenges ahead, supporting the proposal of the entrepreneurs to be considered a tourist activity. "We have demanded from the central government that companies linked to the leisure segment be declared tourism activities, following the recommendation of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). We are going to continue working to ensure that tourism is recognised as a matter of state, far removed from political confrontation and ideological debate," he added.

In the part of the homework that remains to be done, he also added that of committing every day to sustainable and environmentally friendly activities, with sustainable tourism being an opportunity to develop modern and inclusive infrastructures. "Sustainable tourism, such as that offered by nature parks, is an opportunity to promote the development of infrastructures that are integrated into the landscape and that facilitate inclusive use and enjoyment," the president said.

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