Semana Santa is Coming!

A typical Semana Santa Parade
A typical Semana Santa Parade

As Semana Santa looms, Costa del Sol residents are bracing themselves for the annual influx of tourists with this year predicted to bring larger numbers than 2015.

The season begins today and the airports are expecting over half a million tourists on over 3,000 flights scheduled to arrive from today until Monday 28th. The effects will be felt across the country as the entire transport network feels the pressure, from road to rail and from sea to sky.

Airlines have over half a million seats available on flights to and from Málaga with the busiest day set to be Sunday 27th when there are 354 flights due to land at Andalucia’s busiest airport. Monday 28th will also be a manic day with 323 flights due with a total of 54,814 booked seats.

Following last year’s successful season airlines have increased the number of available seats and the frequency of flights, despite this year’s festivities coming earlier. Usually when Easter is early fewer seats are available as the ski season is still active but this year airlines are ready for the extra travellers who may otherwise have visited Tunisia, Turkey or Egypt, locations that are seeing a huge drop in visitor numbers to due to security concerns.

Málaga’s roads are also expected to suffer under the strain of the visitors. Over half a million long-haul road journeys are expected to make your daily commute that little bit longer.

Accommodation

Hoteliers in the region are predicting a small increase in bookings of 2% compared to the same period last year with their busiest time being from Palm Sunday (20th) to Holy Saturday (26th) with an average occupation of 80%. The figure could increase due to last minute bookings but as always, this will depend on the weather. Of course, those of us who live here know all too well that Semana Santa usually guarantees at least a little rain!

Coastal hotels often notice a marked difference in bookings between the first week of the festival and the second with a first week occupancy of 75% rising to 86% in the second week.

Spring is also the time that the golf travellers begin to arrive in Spain, and as a result, you will find increases in prices of green fees on many courses. Also you may find you need to book in advance as some courses will also restrict daily player capacity. El Chaparral Golf in La Cala de Mijas, for example, has a maximum player capacity of 200 players per day on both Holy Tuesday and Holy Thursday.

Prepare!

Remember that the Semana Santa parades are a must-see and you can find one in most towns and cities. Holy effigies, holy dress, music and fun will fill the streets and although you may have to park miles away you should definitely see at least one parade if you can.

Expect to see traffic building up, queues getting longer, parking spaces becoming sparse and the beaches filling up (weather permitting) over the next few days and continuing for the next two weeks. Remember that once it’s over the tourists go home and the coast is ours once more. Well, until the summer season begins anyway.

Of course, the regions businesses will receive a well needed financial injection over the holidays so despite how busy it can be we should be grateful that so many tourists choose the Costa del Sol for their Easter getway.

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Airports Record Increase in Passengers

Following a great start to 2016 for tourism, February showed a continuation of the trend.

During February Andalucian airports reported a total of 1,243,314 passengers spread over 14,760 flights. The total for the first two months of the year increased 16.2% over the same period in 2015, standing at 2,374,543 passengers.

Málaga

Málaga - Andalucía's busiest airport
Málaga – Andalucía’s busiest airport

According to data released by AENA (Spanish Airports and Air Navigation) the busiest airport in the region, over the first two months of 2016, was Málaga which saw 1,527,221 passengers. This represents a 15.7% increase over the same period last year.

Málaga passengers were spread over 12,646 registered flights, also the highest number for the region. This was an 11.9% increase over the previous year.

According to the report Málaga Airport “continues on the path of growth with which it closed 2015,” recording a huge rise of 17.8% more passengers and 14.5% more flights in February 2016, compared to the same month last year.

Other Regional Airports

The airport with the second highest number was Seville with only 599,541 passengers. This is also an increase over the previous year representing a rise of 15.5%. Seville also registered a 3.3% increase in flight numbers with 6,355 recorded operations.

Federico García Lorca (Granada-Jaén) saw a 12% increase with 107,734 passengers passing through, while Almeria recorded 78,484 passengers, a massive increase of 35.4%.

Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) saw 60,137 passengers pass through, representing an increase of 21.3%, while Cordoba was the only Andalucian airport to report a decline in passenger numbers of -3.4% to only 876 travellers.

Passengers

The majority of travellers were on commercial flights, accounting for 790,747 of the total. The majority of those travellers were on international flights, a 16.8% increase over 2015.

Internal flights (between Spanish airports) accounted for 146,834 passengers which shows good growth for the domestic market representing a 21.7% increase, while the number of flights also increased with a 17.9% gain.

In terms of passenger origin, the UK remained the largest source of tourism sending 226,819 travellers to Spain during February, an increase of 17%.

Second was the Germans with 68,753 passengers while the Netherlands accounted for 46,908 travellers.

 

Ryan air cancels routes affecting Seville and Valencia airports

Irish budget airline Ryanair confirmed Wednesday the cancellation from the 10th of January its routes linking the Spanish airports of Seville and Valencia.

A spokesman for the airline explained that the measure is a result of ” restricted capacity of aircraft for the upcoming summer season and increased costs at Spanish airports applied by AENA .”

However Ryanair said, the available seat capacity will increase facilities in the Seville San Pablo airport from September 2014 with the arrival of ” a new aircraft .”

seville_ryan_air

The destinations Bari to Dusseldorf and will open again in March 2014 and Ryanair has signed an agreement with U.S. manufacturer Boeing 737-800 to buy a further 175 planes for around 12,000 million euros, which will join its fleet ” progressively ” said a spokesman .

At the moment the flights are not available for next year on the website for the airline connections from Seville airport Bari (Italy) and Dusseldorf- Weeze (Germany ), although the company plans to activate them again from April 1st 2014. An Ryan Air spokesman said “At the moment we are working on the configuration of the final schedule for summer 2014.”

At the moment we can only confirm that the Valencia route will cease operations from the 10th of January, the spokesman said. The routes from San Pablo to Santiago de Compostela and Malta are in the same situation and suspended during the winter but that could re-enabled from April 2014.