At a press conference, Costa del Sol Tourist Board President Elías Bendodo said that the prospects for the summer season included a 10% rise in the number of visitors over 2010. This means there will be 1.2 million tourists, who will generate revenues for €1,200 million.
These figures are based on the increase in the number of international travellers that can be observed already and the situation of competing destinations in the Mediterranean Basin, which could benefit the Costa del Sol and is cause for optimism about the evolution of the travel industry this year. Thus, the summer season is expected to finish with 6.19 million overnight stays in Costa del Sol accommodations and an average stay of 9.3 days.
In their first press conference as Costa del Sol Tourist Board President and Managing Director, respectively, Mr Bendodo and Arturo Bernal announced the creation of the Costa del Sol Tourism Forum, based on the Málaga City Tourism Forum, “which has worked out so well.” It is intended to be a shared decision-making space for the public and private sectors.
In addition, Mr Bendodo announced a new promotion strategy to enhance competitiveness, but he added that the new policy would be marked “by austerity.” Entrepreneurs will play a more prominent role in the making of Action Plans and mayors will play an active role when it comes to making marketing decisions.
One of the priority goals set by the Tourist Board’s new management team is earning special treatment for the Costa del Sol –an undisputed leader in the international travel industry– at trade shows and events. “We are the gateway to Andalusia and Spain for millions of tourists,” Bendodo said, adding that work should also be done to include the brand “Málaga” in “Costa del Sol.” Other challenges he mentioned were the support to Málaga tourism marketing through product creation and the development and management of profitable services ensuring financial self-sufficiency.
Our new President also addressed the issue of off-season travel, saying that segments like food, golf, or yachting, which are key to make the destination look stronger and more attractive, would get a boost. Likewise, commitment to quality will be renewed: “The idea is not to attract more tourists but to have those who come spend more,” he explained.
Being the leading travel destination in Andalusia, Costa del Sol has three times as many overnight stays as the second one, Costa de la Luz in Cádiz (15.2 million vs. 5.5 million in 2010). What is more, Málaga Airport accounts for 63% arrivals, and the Port of Málaga is the fourth most important in Spain in terms of cruise voyages and the second in the Iberian Peninsula, coming after Barcelona but growing faster (35.1%).
Moreover, six out of the eleven towns in Andalusia whose hotels have higher-than-average profitability are in Málaga, and more than 50% of the people living in Andalusian coastal towns work in Málaga, where tourism makes 12% to 14% of the provincial GDP.