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The place to live, work and do business

Top International Business Guide

Director General of Business and Trade for Spain, British Embassy Madrid
The place to live, work and do business

Jordi Laguarda

Sunday, 4 June 2023

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Malaga province has a special relationship with the UK and holds a place in the heart of many Brits. Together we have long-standing historical bonds, enviable air bridge connections, strong commercial ties and close people-to-people links, helped in part by such terrific tourism to the Andalusian region. In fact, the UK-Malaga bond is a microcosm of the UK-Spain relationship more broadly.

Brits have called Malaga home for hundreds of years and, from the past to the present day, endeavoured to make their positive mark on its business and culture. Many will be familiar with the old Anglican Church and cemetery as a must-see stop on any historical tour through the city, with its beautiful botanic gardens attracting visitors of all faiths for decades. But it’s much more than that - as the site of the first Anglican cemetery built in Spain (built in 1831) and the first Anglican church (in 1850) it is an important symbol of British roots in the region. Furthermore, its upkeep over the years and recognition as a site of Andalusian cultural interest in 2012 point to the enduring British community, who for generations have called Malaga, the Costa del Sol and the surrounding region home.

Jordi Laguarda
Jordi Laguarda

Today, there are approximately 121,000 British residents in Andalucía, of whom 71,000 live in Malaga province. Many play an active part in the local community and have established numerous associations, clubs and charities over the years. Cudeca - the first independent cancer care charity hospice in Spain founded by the late Joan Hunt OBE - is just one example.

Each year, the British footprint in Malaga swells even further as tourists flock to the region to enjoy local culture, cuisine and natural scenery. More than 20 British airports fly to Malaga and flights from the UK make up 30% of the total flights into the city. They carry more than three million British tourists to the Costa del Sol every year, where they make a significant economic contribution to local businesses and the economy.

Finally, yet importantly, there are strong trade, investment, and innovation ties underpinning the UK-Malaga relationship. In 2022, Malaga province alone accounted for almost half a per cent of the UK’s total trade in goods. Malaga exports €85 million worth of goods to the UK, from fruits and vegetables, to aircraft components and machinery. In return, the city imports some €50 million in goods from the UK. As for investment, Andalucía as a whole has attracted 18% of British overseas investment in Spain since 2014, much of which has gone into Malaga.

The attraction for British firms is clear: Malaga is open for business! It is a place of growth, innovation and possibility - from the small businesses to established brands, like Quantexa, and Aerospace Engineering Solutions who have all recently opened offices in Malaga. From this buzzing South Europe platform, they are able to take advantage of the state-of-the-art business incubator technology within Malaga Valley ecosystem, well-established transport networks and incredible local talent.

Hence, the great love affair continues to thrive some 200 years on, with Brits (and many other nationalities) choosing Malaga as the place to live, work and do business.

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