Russians Continue to Love Spain

Russians continue to visit Spain and the Costa del Sol in great numbers and most of them stay a while and spend spend spend!

Tourists from Russia top the league of tourism average expenditure with an average of 1,499 Euros per person, considerably higher than the national average of 1,056 Euros. This amount also dwarfs that of the Germans (959 Euros) and the Brits (895 Euros).

With an eye on maintaining the popularity of the region some Russian tour operators are already adding extra flights to Iberian airports from both Moscow and St. Petersburg. According to data from AENA the number of passengers travelling to Spanish airports from Russia increased 27.3% in February, when compared to the same month in 2015.

This shows a continuation of the increase we saw in 2015 when the number of Russian passengers arriving in Málaga Airport increased 17.62% (compared to 2014) to 71,523. Other than February and November 2014, the number of airline passengers from Russia to Spain has increased every month for the last two years.

Málaga / Costa del Sol

The main source of Russian passengers arriving in Málaga Airport was Moscow accounting for 50.7% of the total, while St. Petersburg accounted for 19.2% of passengers.

The travellers specified their main reasons for visiting the Southern region were the sun and beaches, leisure activities and entertainment, culture, shopping, and gastronomy; all of which epitomise the Costa del Sol and which attract millions of tourists from all over the world year after year.

The availability of direct flights to Málaga was also mentioned as an important reason for visiting.

More than half of Russian passengers (51.3%) said they had used a travel agency to organise their visit with 15.2% of those stating that it was arranged online via a travel website.

More than 4 out of 10 Russian tourists stated that they would stay in a hotel of four or five-star rating which may account for the increased average spend.

Time and Money

Russian spending remains high
Russian spending remains high

The average length of stay for Russian travellers is also slightly above the national average of nine days standing at 10.4 days, with more than half of all Russian visitors to Spain stating that they would or have visited Málaga / Costa del Sol. Most popular among those visitors were Marbella, Málaga, Benalmadena, Nerja and Fuengirola all of which received positive reviews.

When visiting the Costa del Sol, Russian tourists spent almost 25% more per day then other tourists, with an average daily spend of 61.7 Euros per day compared to 48.5 Euros for tourists from other countries.

When asked to rate aspects of the Costa del Sol, the average for overall satisfaction with the region was 8.7 out of 10. Many individual aspects, including landscape, environment, quality and prices, all received averages above nine out of ten. The worst rating was for the coasts taxis which received an average satisfaction rating of 7.1 out of ten.

In line with increases in passenger numbers across Spain’s airports the number of Russians arriving in Málaga airport increased by 24% in the first two months of 2016.

There are now up to 10% more airline seats available for flights to Málaga this year compared to 2015. This is in part thanks to Russian Airline Aeroflot increasing connections to the region.


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 - 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.


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.


Increase in German Visitors Expected

President of the Junta de Andalucía, Susana Díaz
Junta de Andalucía President, Susana Díaz

The world’s leading travel trade show took place in Berlin over the weekend and President of the Junta de Andalucía, Susana Díaz, was there on the opening day.

Díaz is reportedly “delighted” at the prospects for German tourism in Andalucia this coming summer following a very successful show.

In 2015 the number of German tourists visiting the region increased by almost 5% and this trend appears to be continuing as there has been a 12% increase in bookings compared to the same time last year.

Increased Demand

Over 1.2 million tourists arrived in Andalucia from Germany in 2015, a 4.8% increase over 2014. These visitors accounted for 800,721 hotel nights representing a 3.1% increase. The total of overnight stays by German tourists was a massive 3.8 million. This was a rise of only 0.6%; a small yet significant increase. The average length of a visit was 11.3 days, which is slightly over the Spanish average of nine days.

Two major tour operators, FTI and TSS Group, have both indicated that they have increased their capacity for Spain because they have seen a growth in demand.

Despite the numbers suggesting a good year, Díaz pointed out that the German market had not performed as well as expected in 2015, either in Spain as a whole, or in destinations such as the Costa del Sol and Malaga city, despite up to one third of German tourists visiting those areas. She added that Andalucia was keen to see an increase in German arrivals as they are the third nationality in terms of holiday spend.

“We have come to the ITB with two things in mind: to discover new trends and products which are popular with German tourists and to promote Andalucía as a holiday destination par excellence. We offer a very extensive variety of different facilities and this is what visitors require, so we have the potential for enormous growth,” Díaz said.

According to Díaz, German tourists are loyal to Andalucia and many return to the region year after year. “I am convinced that the figures this year will be higher than last year. Germany is a great ally in terms of tourism and a key market towards our aim of achieving 30 million tourists during this legislature,” she added.

Improved Connections

As a means of ensuring the arrival of more Germans this year Díaz explained that work is required to improve air connections between the countries as this is currently the “Achilles heel in this market” adding that there is a need for extra direct flights from German airports to Malaga, Seville and Almeria.

As a results of security scares and terror threats in other popular tourist destinations, including Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt, Andalucia plans to try and make the most of the extra interest in Spain. There has been a reported 40% drop in bookings to those areas. Díaz announced that they plan to invest 2 million euros to promote the area to capitalise on this with up to 50 promotional activities with a big push for Andalucian beaches, golf, health and cruises saying “We want the figures, which are already good, to become extraordinary,”.

Andalucia Promoted in Madrid

The Andalucian Ministry of Tourism and Sport has been in Madrid to promote Andalucia as a tourist spot for internal travellers.

The conference, attended by some 500 travel agents, aimed to promote the southern region to the domestic market which is the main source of tourism. More than 9.3 million domestic travellers visited Andalucia in 2015, a 4.4% increase over the previous year. Together they amassed 23.6 million overnight stays, an increase of 3.5% over 2014.

Madrid is a prime choice for this type of event as Andalucia is a first-choice destination for Madrileños (people from Madrid), second only to itself. Last year the south coast was visited by 1.4 million travellers from Madrid who accounted for 4.1 million overnight stays, increases of 4% and 3.1% respectively.

The ministry was joined by officials from the eight provincial boards and representatives from around 60 Andalucian businesses eager to promote themselves alongside the region. The aim of the meeting was to impart knowledge of the region and it’s attractions as well as to create business ties between the two areas.

Ornithological Tourism

Monfragüe National Park
Monfragüe National Park

The Ministry also attended the FIO (International Tourism Fair Ornithological) over the previous weekend which was held in the Natural Park of Monfragüe, Cáceres. The aim of this fair was to promote the area as a tourism spot for nature lovers and bird watchers. This is an increasing segment of tourism attracting 13,000 visitors last year

Andalucia has around 150 protected areas covering a total of 3.3 million hectares. Within those there are 60 Special Protection Areas (SPA) and 190 Sites of Community Interest (SCI). Together the areas protect around 300 species of animals and birds.

According to the Ministry, ornithological tourists are characterised by long stays and high average expenditure, with the average stay being 7 days and average daily spend of just over €1,000 per person.


Housing in 2014 continued rising

Property Sales in Spain rose again in 2014HOUSING sales in Spain have again for the third consecutive quarter risen, as 13.5% more houses were sold in the third quarter of the same period last year.

Sources in the Ministry of Development stated that the amount of sales completed before a notary between the months of July and September was 80,136. January to March also saw a rise of 48.5% in sales, with an additional 12% increase in the second quarter.

These are indeed encouraging statistics, especially when viewed with latest figures from the Institute of National Statistics (INE) which showed a 16% increase in October compared with the same month last year.

There`s still a way to go before reaching the same figures prior to the housing crash. The record remains for houses sold in a single at 251,649 homes, which was set in the second quarter of 2006.

Whilst 95% of transactions were for private houses, a majority of the resale market, just 15.1% of sales were for new homes. Even though signs of recovery are encouraging for the new homes market, a huge repository of houses still remain that need to also be sold. Slightly surprising is the fact that new housing sales are not rising quicker as stated recently in another report that new houses are being sold for less than the construction cost, enabling house buyers a unique opportunity which may not return for many years.

At the top the sales chart in the third quarter was Andalucia (16,360 transactions); that was followed by Valencia (12,116); then closely by Catalonia (11,983) and finally Madrid (10,272).

A major contributor to slaes figures were foreign residents of Spain. In the third quarter their purchases accounted for 12,764 transactions, which is an increase of 17.2%, the 13th quarterly rise.

Total number of sales to foreigners which also includes non-residents reached 13,789, or 17.2% of the total house purchases in that quarter.

The most popular areas were Alicante (3,323) Malaga (1,918), Barcelona (1,103), Madrid (839) and Tenerife (721).

Malaga and Alicante attracted nearly half of purchases by foreign residents

The sale of homes totalled 70,196 operations in the third quarter, 6.8% less than in the same period of 2012 according to the Ministry of Development, showing that home ownership by foreigners grew by 24 7% to 10,960 transactions, 15.6 % of the total. Home sales fell as in respect to the second quarter when they decreased by 4.2%, although away from the crash this suffered 21.5% in the first three months of the year .

However the data from Formento shows in the last twelve months between October 2012 and September 2013 sales transactions were 341,104, which is  1.4% more than in the previous twelve months. Alicante and Malaga distributed nearly half of purchases by foreign residentes, 13,918 transactions were for new housing which is 19.8% of the total, while the resale market totalled 56,278 , 80.2 %.

In the case of private housing, operations amounted to 66,477 between July and September this year, 94.7% of the total, while 5.3% or 3,179 transactions were for housing.

Half of foreign property buyers purchase in areas like Marbella in Malaga and Alicante

By region in the last 12 months nine of them have had increased sales, while the remaining eight and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla have produced falls in property sales. Notable increases were in Murcia ( +14.3 % ), Aragon (+9.4 %) and Catalonia ( +7.6 %) , compared with declines of Cantabria ( -17.3 %) , Basque Country (- 15.3%) and Castilla -La Mancha (-14.6 % ), respectively. The purchases made by foreign residents in Spain experienced an annual growth of 24.7 % over the third quarter of 2012 , with 10,960 operations.

Together, the purchases made by foreign – resident and non – residents accounted for 12,070 transactions , 17.2% of the total , which is a record since 2006. By provinces of which recorded the highest number of sales by foreign residents accounted for Alicante ( 3,158 operations ), Malaga ( 1552 ), Barcelona ( 889 ) , Girona ( 758 ) and Tenerife ( 705) . Only foreign demand activity in the housing market ” remains in the doldrums .” According to Beatriz Toribio of Fotocasa, “now they’re again buying property in Spain foreign investors are seeking good opportunities in this time of low prices “. ” May we continue in positive figures, the pull of foreign demand is good because it came from many years of sluggishness ,” but ” should not lead to euphoria because the sector will recover only thanks to foreign demand,” says Toribio.


Air China considering the idea of including Malaga to their routes

Airline company Air China is now entertaining the idea of including Malaga to their routes with regard to the airlines expansion into Spain.

The airline´s chief executive Zhaoqui Bi stated he felt the route could be popular amongst the growing amount of Chinese travellers going to the country on holiday.

air china malaga
Air China are considering adding Malaga to their routes

The declaration comes after substantial market research carried out by the commercial airline to determine just where it might be best increasing its network, within Spain and internationally.

In talks with the Junta De Andalucia in Malaga, Zhaoqui Bi highlighted the tourist authorities need to do all it can to demonstrate to Chinese visitors what the city of Malaga as well as the larger Andalucian region, is offering in the event the route will be successful.
In accordance with information supplied by airport authorities, merely 15,000 of more than 20 million visitors which go through Malaga airport terminal are Chinese.

Top Tourist Attractions in Malaga, Spain

Guest post by Irina Chirilov

MalagaMalaga is one of the largest Spanish cities; it is located in the South of Spain, in Andalucia, being the capital of the MalagaProvince. The entire Costa del Sol has a Mediterranean climate and for this reason a lot of tourists come and spend great summer vacations there.

Malaga is a city that was built by the Phoenicians close to 3,000 years ago; during the Roman Empire it was one considered a confederated City of Rome. Nowadays it is one of the top world tourism capitals, and its importance is growing continually.

Malaga attracts tourists with its beaches, the possibility of hiking, its architecture, the art museums, the great places for shopping and the excellent cuisine. You can get to Malaga by bus, by train, by car, by plane, by boat or even by taxi. In fact Malaga has the third biggest airport in Spain.

What is there to see and visit?

1. One of the most recommended places to go to is the Alcazaba Fortress. It was built in 1040 by King Badis from the Zirid dynasty, who was thus trying to protect his family from invaders. The fortress was raised up on a hill.

2. Castillo de Gibralfaro represents the ruins of a Moorish castle, which has an unknown origin. It was built during the Phoenician Punic period and it is open for visitors between 9:00 and 18:00, the price for the entrance ticket being just under two Euros.

3. Another top tourist attraction in Malaga is the RomanTheatre, which was raised in the first century B.C. and is located close to the Alcazaba Fortress. The Theatre was used for entertainment for about four centuries now, even though the Moors used some of the remains of the theatre to build some fortresses nearby. The theatre ruins were found in 1951, when the authorities were planning to build a new garden in the region.

4. The Museum of Glass and Crystal in Malaga is located in an 18th century palace and contains a private collection of artistic glass and crystal pieces coming from various historical periods and cultures. The entrance fee is 4 Euros, and this guarantees you the possibility of touring the museum with the help of a certified guide.

5. The Cocodrilos Park is the place where you will have the chance to see about 300 crocodiles of different species. The Park is open all year long and it consists of eight lakes, an African village, a museum, an audiovisual room, a nursery for baby crocodiles, a fortress that was built using the African Sahara style and a playground for kids.

6. The natural monument Canyon of Buitreras is a spectacular narrow gorge that has been formed due to the action of the river Guadiaro. This natural marvel has its origins in the Jurassic period, and the tourists visiting it have all talked about the awe that the canyon inspires. It is the perfect place to go if you are looking for spectacular, natural landscapes that are both wild and awesome. A lot of accommodation possibilities are offered to tourists coming to visit the canyon and the prices start from few Euros per night for a regular bedroom.

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, besides all these unique and wonderful places to visit while in Malaga, you will also be charmed by its excellent cuisine; you will have the opportunity to eat not only special Malaga dishes, but also some of the best international ones.

Author bio: Irina Chirilov is a blogger for Thrifty Bucharest Romania, a car rental agency that represents Dollar Thrifty Car Rentals in Eastern Europe.

The wonderful city of Malaga

One of the worlds most popular tourist destinations

Guest post by Mark Barry

Malaga - Gateway to the Costa del Sol
Malaga – Gateway to the Costa del Sol

Malaga, situated in Andalusia, Spain, is one of the major tourist attractions on earth today. The place carries great significance as it encircles the memories of one of the greatest painter mankind has ever known – Pablo Picasso. Presenting glorious history of 2800 years, the city is now considered among the oldest cities of the world.

Let’s explore more about the amazing Spanish city, its major attractions, social life, entertainment and nightlife and most importantly the overwhelming history of civilization Malaga features.

History of Malaga: stranger than fiction, more colourful than dreams

The city is located on the shore of Mediterranean sea. The city was first discovered and explored by Phoenicians in 770 BC. The name Malaga (Malaka) originates from Finish meaning salt; the reason behind such naming refers to the salty fish invariably caught and sold on the shore and nearby vicinity.

Later, the city revolved around imperialism, monarchy, military governance and autonomous governance through the last 1500 years. First, the Romans acquired the city, then the Arabs; later it was taken over by Catholic monarchs. Finally in the 1960s, the city attained it’s current status of being an autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain.

Entertainment and nightlife in Malaga

Malaga is a vibrant city featuring live Spanish music, enticing culture, liberal thoughts and ethnicities. There are plenty of gay and lesbian hotspots around the city. There are numerous bars, nightclubs, music clubs and many more. Theatres here present Spanish culture through the cinemas, dramas and documentaries. Attraction parks here introduce the tourists to Malaga’s exclusive crypto zoology.

At the same time, you can attend the flamenco shows, visit the go carting tracks, Malaga football club and many more sights. The city presents much historical evidence of it’s evolution through thousands of years. A car ride across the city will help you explore numerous attractive historical memoirs and complete your Malaga tour.

Here are some of the major tourist entertainment spots:

  • La Bodega Malaguena: It’s a vibrant bodega bar
  • Sala Wengé: A live music club for social gatherings
  • Weekend Café Bar: A popular cocktail bar in the city
  • Teatro Romano: A music club with HD TV, live music and sports
  • Casanova Lounge Club: A vibrant lounge and cocktail bar

Hotels and Restaurants in Malaga: authentic cuisines, great taste, cost-effective options.

Most tourists visiting the city take great interest in authentic Spanish cuisine. Fortunately, none are disappointed with the restaurants and bars here. There are numerous hotels and restaurants featuring high quality authentic foods from different international cuisine.

The tapas bars are also considered as one of the major food attractions of this historical shore-town. The price of the foods here are comparatively cheaper than other cities of Spain. At the same time, the city presents some cosy, comfortable, yet cheap residency options for tourists. There are some attractive resident-hotels, cottages and flats available across the town.

Here are some of the lucrative residency-options for the international tourists:

  • Restaurants: Café de París, El Chinitas, Adolfo, Escuela de Hostería, Parador de Málaga-Gibralfara etc.
  • Hotels: Parador de Málaga Golf, Hotel La Bobadilla, AC Málaga Palacio, Parador de Málaga-Gibralfaro, Hostal Derby etc.

Malaga is also known as the California of Europe for its comfortable climate, generous people, vibrant culture and numerous activities. Tourists around the world have always been attracted to the city. Truly the seaside Spanish town is one of the most amazing leisure destinations on earth today.

Mark blogs about all areas of the world but his favourite place is his villa in Lanzarote.