Costa del Sol Poised to Break Tourism Records with Over 10.4 Million Stays by August
Property News

Costa del Sol Poised to Break Tourism Records with Over 10.4 Million Stays by August

The Costa del Sol is witnessing an unprecedented surge in tourism, with forecasts predicting over 10.4 million stays by August. This surge is evident at Malaga Airport, where the continuous influx of tourists, along with bustling hotels, restaurants, and beach bars, highlights the region's booming popularity.

A Strong Start to Summer

The summer season has kicked off with remarkable momentum, mirroring last year’s record-breaking high season. Many couples, friends, young people, and families commenced their long-awaited holidays, signalling a promising start to June.

Tourism bookings have significantly increased, with various sectors reporting a more intense start to the year compared to last year. A common sentiment among industry insiders is that "The Costa del Sol is on fire" regarding expectations for the summer.

Diverse attractions draw visitors.

Not all visitors are seeking sun and sand; there is a growing interest in nature tourism within the province. Campsites and rural tourist sites are preparing for an influx of visitors. The tourism sector aims to surpass the 2.6 million tourists who visited last June, July, and August, hoping to break last summer's record of 10.4 million stays, as per Spain's National Statistics Institute (INE).

Occupancy and pricing

The accommodation sector anticipates exceeding the average occupancy rate of 74% recorded from June to September 2023. A moderate price increase of 5-8% is expected, compared to last summer’s average daily fare of €162.3, which was 30.6% higher than in 2019.

International Tourism and Employment

International tourism is growing at a double-digit rate, with the last high season seeing nearly 3.5 million arrivals at Malaga Airport, 2.9 million of which were international visitors. The main sources of international tourists include the UK, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Germany.

However, a significant challenge remains: finding sufficient workers to meet tourist expectations. The Association of Hotel Businessmen of the Costa del Sol (Aehcos) has bolstered its employment exchange for the high season, aiming to fill 3,000 to 5,000 positions across 340 associated accommodations. The most in-demand roles are in restaurants, kitchens, cleaning, and reception.

Optimistic Projections

Aehcos forecasts an 87.1% hotel occupancy rate for June, five percentage points higher than last year. For July, they anticipate an occupancy rate of 85%, exceeding last year’s 84.6%. Aehcos president, José Luque, emphasised the importance of monitoring the profitability of establishments and the average gross income per guest to determine the economic impact and employment benefits.

Increased expenditure and rural tourism

The Andalusian Tourist Housing Association (AVVAPro) noted positive forecasts for Malaga city, with advance sales around 90 days out. Early bookings for summer are two points higher than last year, with an increase in the average stay to nearly five nights. This sector has also seen a 12% rise in average spending in the first four months of the year, with an estimated 16% increase for the summer.

Rural tourism in Malaga province is also expected to perform well. Ruraldays, a platform for rural tourism in Andalucía, anticipates a promising summer, despite a slight dip in occupancy compared to last year due to new accommodations entering the market and last-minute bookings becoming more common.

Broader Tourism Trends

Travel agencies report a strong desire among locals to travel, with June sales up by 5% compared to last year. Popular destinations include Andalucía, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, and European capital cities.

Rental Car and Leisure Sectors

The Andalusian Rental Car Business Association (AESVA) expects positive growth, with rental companies increasing their fleets. The summer season represents 51.6% of the sector’s business.

Leisure parks in the Costa del Sol also predict higher figures for 2024 compared to last year, reinforcing the region's role as the tourism engine of Andalucía.

Economic Impact

The Junta’s Minister of Tourism, Arturo Bernal, forecasts that Andalucía will reach 21.5 million stays, 1.5 million more than the previous season. The challenge for the Costa del Sol now is to exceed the €8.1 billion in revenue generated during the record summer of 2023.

Our industry stories

Latest market trends, investments, and property developments in the Iberian Peninsula