A record 13 million tourists visited the Costa del Sol in 2019 – and a vast majority returned home with a high level of satisfaction, positive memories and a desire to return.
According to the 2019 Tourist Evaluation compiled by Turismo Costa del Sol (Málaga’s official tourism board), 98 per cent said they would recommend the destination, rated their visit as positive or very positive, and gave the Costa del Sol an average score of 8.87.
Expressing her satisfaction with the results of the survey, the board’s managing director, Margarita Cid, said, “The best barometer for us to confirm that we are doing things right is that the actual tourists who visit our destination give us such high marks, recommend us to others and visit us again.”
The aspects that tourists visiting the Costa del Sol expressed their greatest satisfaction with, she said, were the climate-beach combination followed by hospitality, landscape, nature and gastronomy. Other aspects also attracting high levels of satisfaction (albeit with fewer replies) were tranquillity, the environment and cleanliness.
The most popular activities enjoyed by tourists were cultural routes and visits, sun and beach, culinary options and nightlife.
The municipalities that people visited outside where they were staying were, in order of significance: Málaga, Marbella, Ronda, Nerja and Mijas.
As for the Costa del Sol’s specific aspects, the highest grades were received for: attention and treatment received (8.96); leisure and fun (8.86); security (8.86); inland areas (8.69); accommodation (8.63) and bars and restaurants (8.62).
British Tourism Trends
Another study by Turismo Costa del Sol looked at “big data” and travel habits by British tourists, especially bearing in mind the possible impact of Brexit (the survey was carried out before the 31 January withdrawal).
Reports by Amadeus and Orange concluded that the Costa del Sol suffered less from “unseasonality” (or the seasonal nature of tourism) than other rival destinations such as the Balearics, Canary Islands and Côte d’Azur.
They also found that, of the 20 routes with most air traffic from the UK, four were to Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport: London, Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow.
The UK market remained “stable” throughout 2019, according to the report, basing its conclusions on online searches, bookings and air flight capacity.
A total of 98 per cent of flights from the UK were direct to the Costa del Sol: 62 per cent of the total by Ryanair and EasyJet. British tourists tended to plan their travel 14 days later than in 2018 (78 compared with 64 days in 2019), and also delayed their ticket purchases and bookings by 12 days compared with the previous year.
Málaga Popular with Swedes
Meanwhile, in an unrelated survey, Swedish tourists ranked Málaga number one among their favourite holiday spots during the Christmas-New Year period.
According to a list of international destinations compiled by Norwegian, based on reservations by Swedish passengers with the airline company during the festive season, five coastal Spanish areas were among the top-10.