This time last year, visitor numbers to Malaga’s famous Holy Week procession were announced as record-breaking, heralding the most successful year for tourism the Costa del Sol had seen since the financial crisis.
Just days after the debris from this year’s Easter celebrations were swept away, it has been announced that visitor number surpassed all expectations, indicating a very rosy outlook for the UK’s favourite holiday destination in 2015.
Malaga’s Mayor, Francisco de la Torre speaking yesterday, reported that hotel occupancy peaked at 97% with tourists generating €34m in revenue over the week-long festivities, representing a 1.5% increase on figures for 2014.
The initial few days of Holy Week are traditionally slow but this year saw 85% occupancy from Palm Sunday to the following Wednesday, the highest levels seen for years.
The Mayor reported the total number of visitors staying over the week in the city’s hotels and hostels was 188,760; each spending an average of €93 a day, resulting in a €34m contribution to Spain’s slowly recovering economy.
25% of visitors were Spanish, mostly from Andalucía, Madrid and Cataluña. The remainder were predominantly British, which is generally the case in this part of Spain with more visitors from Germany and France than hosted in recent years.
Cruises reflected their boom in popularity with a 7.6% increase in visitors arriving on 8 ships over the week. Malaga’s tourist offices saw an increase in enquiries of almost 21% on last year and journalists covering the celebrations were in the city from Denmark, Germany, UK and the Czech Republic.
Recognising the importance of tourism to Spain’s economy, the government have been investing heavily in the sector to boost labour markets, generate revenue and incentivise real estate investment, particularly from foreign buyers.
Just prior to Holy Week, the first Pompidou centre to open outside France was launched in Malaga in the form of a pop-up gallery exhibiting more than 90 works by artists including Alberto Giacometti, Francis Bacon, Malaga native Picasso and René Magritte on loan from the France’s national museum of art.
Dubbed the ‘pop-up Pompidou’, the striking contemporary structure is set to be in place for five years at a cost of €1m per year. It is expected to generate 400 new jobs and annual revenues of more than €18.5m, attracting an additional 200,000 visitors to the increasingly trendy city each year.
Resort areas throughout the Costa del Sol are set to feel the ripple-effect of Spain’s tourism boom, particularly in local property markets. Marbella has been a particular investment hotspot for wealthy property investors with prices seeing modest increases towards the end of 2014, reflecting continuing buyer interest in luxury homes.
Demand for holiday accommodation was extremely high in 2014 and is now confidently expected to remain strong through the remainder of this year, based on Malaga’s Easter Week success-story. With many properties still heavily discounted to 2007 peak prices, there are plenty of bargains to be had on the Costa del Sol.
Also, it’s worth bearing in mind euro-weakness right now. Sterling buyers will get around 30% more bang for their buck in the current climate. With UK pension-savers over 55 off the starting blocks with their new-found ‘freedom’, Spain is set to become a popular investment hotspot for savvy buyers seeking a healthy income and promising capital appreciation.
Source:: Property show rooms