Malaga, despite the slowdown in national tourist flows, has had a magnificent year, according to the latest INE (Spanish national institute of statistics) data. Thus, it is among the five most sought-after destinations of 2018 by Spanish travelers alongside Madrid, Cádiz, Valencia and Barcelona.
The city has been located as the urban destination of Spain that has grown the most this year in hotel stays compared to 2017 (6.45%), achieving the second place in the increase in visitors (5.44%). It also has the second highest degree of occupation (77.7%), behind Barcelona and ahead of Madrid, Seville and Bilbao.
During 2018 there was an increase in tourist activity in traditionally more relaxed months, with considerable increases in January, February, May, November and December. In particular, the data of the month of December reflect how the city has managed to position itself as a preferred destination internationally thanks to the Christmas atmosphere, the lights and the museum and gastronomic offer. In the last month of the year, this resulted in an increase of 11.51% in the volume of hotel tourists and 14.78% in the volume of overnight stays compared to 2017. In the latter area, the 23.08% increase in overnight stays of international tourists was highlighted.
In global terms, Malaga surpasses for the first time the 3 billion economic impact of tourism in the city.
The volume of revenue generated last year from tourism also reached a historic figure of 20.4 billion euros, 4.5% more than the previous year.
Regarding the province of Malaga, it closes 2017 as its best tourist exercise and consolidates as the most growing urban destination with more than 1.3 million travelers staying, more than 2.4 million overnight stays and an occupancy rating of 79%.
The international tourist has been in recent years who has allowed the Costa del Sol to come out of the crisis in this area unscathed, motivated mainly by insecurity in other Mediterranean destinations.
These other countries, such as Egypt, Turkey or Tunisia, are regaining ground. Even so, the foreigner bets on the Costa del Sol to the point that the arrival of international tourists grew by 8.2% last year. They increased from most destinations and, although the UK and Germany are the most important in volume, the growth in passenger arrivals through the airport of Swedes (41%), Dutch (29.7%), Italians (27.8%) was particularly noteworthy (16%).
As for the places of origin of visitors, the main national markets were Andalusia, with 14.74% of the total tourists (201,730 visitors); Madrid with 6.78% (92,859 hotel tourists); Catalonia, 2.87% (39,331 tourists); Valencian Community, 1.76% (24,091 visitors); Canary Islands, 1.09% (14,874 tourists).
As for international visitors, the most robust market during 2018 was the one coming from the UK with 9.15% of the total hotel travellers (125,286 in absolute terms); Germany with 5.22% (71,502 tourists); France, 4.81% (65,804 tourists); Italy, 4.07% (55,732 tourists); and the Netherlands with 3.63% (49,650 hotel tourists).
MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) segment has performed excellently in most Spanish cities during 2018 and is, in general, one of the strategic segments of the sector in Malaga.
In this area, 2018 has marked an important milestone: for the first time the city has surpassed 100,000 congress attendees, generating a direct economic impact for the city of more than 100 million euros.
The organizers of congresses check edition after edition that Malaga guarantees between 15 and 20% more participants than when they choose another destination. Good air connections, wide gastronomic offer and climate have become the aces with which the congress sector certifies each year an increase in activity.
Malaga concentrates an attractive and powerful network of museums with a total of 37 museums, among which are the Picasso, the Malaga Museum, the Thyssen, the Automobile and Fashion, the Pompidou Centre and the Centre for Contemporary Art and of which a large majority are in the Historic center, reason that makes Malaga the city of Spain with the highest density of museums in its old town.
Along with the cultural attractions it is also worth highlighting active and nature tourism, with proposals such as the Historical Botanical Garden La Concepción, the Natural Park of the Montes de Málaga and the Natural Park German tourist, for example, attaches a lot of importance. The number of active tourism companies has also experienced a remarkable growth.
In particular, the Great Trail of Malaga (Gran Senda) has become a focus of attraction for new businesses linked to rural tourism, and the accommodation linked to it has doubled in the last four years until reaching 2,100 establishments.
TRAVEL BY TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION
Malaga again beats tourist record in 2018, being the best year in the history of the Costa del Sol. The spectacular growth of the regulated supply of accommodation continues due to the increase and registration of “housing for tourism purposes”, which is the typology with the highest supply of places (40.9%), followed by hotels (27.1%) and the apartments (17.6%).
On the other hand, a total of 17,992 jobs have been registered in regulated establishments in Malaga during the last financial year, an increase of +3.9% compared to the previous year.
Malaga airport reached a record 19 million passengers in 2018, last year it was in fourth position with an exact total of 19,021,704 travelers, second only to Madrid, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca.
The United Kingdom is the main passenger-sender country to Malaga, with more than 2.7 million entries. Delving into the data, Malaga-Costa del Sol airport has closed the first quarter of 2019 with growth, registering 7.1% more passengers and 4.1% more operations in the same period of the previous year.
Passengers’ evolution at Malaga Airport
|YEAR||NUMBER OF PASSENGERS|
Source: AENA (2017)
TOURIST QUALITY AT DESTINATION
Malaga ratifies the quality of its tourist offer by increasing sICTED (Integral System of Tourism Quality in Destination) certifications by 9%, making it again in 2018 one of the national destinations with the largest number of companies and services distinguished by their quality. The city already has 167 distinctions and is again at number three in 191 Spanish destinations. It is only preceded by the province of Pontevedra-Rías Baixas with 271 distinctions and Gijón with 220.
This certification encompasses both services offered by the tourist offer – accommodation, gastronomic or museum – and those that, without being directly touristic, are part of the itinerary of consumption of visitors.
MALAGA, SUSTAINABLE TOURISM MODEL
To make tourism a sustainable industry, quality is indispensable. Malaga is committed to promoting more urban quality tourism and incorporating the UN Sustainable Development Goals in each of its strategic lines. It is an essential pillar of Malaga’s tourism planning and is thus reflected in the Strategic Plan 2016-2020.
Tourism can contribute, directly or indirectly, to all Objectives. Specifically, tourism appears in Goals 8, 12 and 14, which are respectively related to inclusive and sustainable economic development, consumption and sustainable production, and the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources.
We can say that 2018 has been the best year in the tourist history of the province of Malaga. Never have so many tourists, so many overnight stays, so many revenue generated by tourists, so many tourist jobs, so Malaga is on the right path of betting on quality tourism and more in the scenario of general slowdown by the strong competition from other Mediterranean destinations.
The province consolidates a model of success that has been achieved thanks to the consensus with the private sector that marks synergies and strategies during the eleven years of life of the Tourism Forum, which also addresses this tourism model in a cross-cutting way.
The economic balance has been good in general terms, better for hoteliers and tourist housing, and somewhat looser in that of bars and restaurants.