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.


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.


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.


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.


Record Number of Travellers Pass Through Spanish Airports

Spain is always at it’s busiest throughout the summer but August 2015 proved to be a record month for airline passengers.

Across the Aena Airports Network, which includes Mardid, Malaga and Barcelona, a record 24,001,019 passengers passed through, representing a 4.7% increase over the same period in 2014.

Doubtless this was helped by the troubles in other popular tourist destinations including Turkey, Tunisia and Greece with many holidays to those areas being cancelled in favour of Spain.

At the top of the list was Madrid-Barajas which saw a 14% increase over last year recording 4,550,487 passengers. Barcelona-El Prat came in second with Malaga coming in fourth place with a 3.7% and 3.4% increase, respectively.

The year-to-date figures are also record breaking with a total of 140,154,463 recorded so far. This is a 5.2% increase over the same period last year.

Across the board the majority of airports registered an increase. However, Tenerife saw a slight decrease registering -2,7% over August 2014. Almeria and Gerona also saw a decline in passenger numbers.

Aena Airports’ International Passengers Up 4.3% in October

International passenger traffic at Aena airports reached a total of 12,030,583 in October, which is 4.3% more than in the same month of the previous year. This consolidates the positive trend for international traffic, which already grew by 2.5% in September. In October the total passenger traffic across the network was 16,884,959, 0.7% lower than in October 2012.

Madrid-Barajas was the airport in the Aena network which handled most passengers in October, with 3,490,462, reducing its percentage of decline (-9.8% compared with October last year) and registering its best result of the last twelve months.

Passengers numbers are on the rise

Barcelona-El Prat airport registered a 2.1% growth in passenger numbers, reaching 3,119,098, consolidating the positive results of previous months. In addition, in October, Aena’s total passenger traffic achieved significant increases in the network’s main tourist airports, consolidating the growth trend experienced by many of them throughout summer season.

Alicante-Elche Airport recorded an increase of 11.5% in passenger traffic in October (931,260); Ibiza registered growth of 10.2% (415,364); Lanzarote 9.5% (489,396); Malaga-Costa del Sol 5.3% (1,277,955), Gran Canaria 5% (852,358); Fuerteventura 3.1% (396,598); Palma de Mallorca 3% (2,232,917); Valencia 2.9% (419,210) and Barcelona-El Prat 2.1% (3,119,098). Together, the Canary Islands’ airports grew by more than 3% and recorded a total of 2,865,096 passengers.

Worthy of note also, is the growth in the number of passengers achieved last month at other airports in the network, such as La Gomera, which experienced an increase of 88.9%, Burgos, with 46.9% more passengers, and Almeria, up 18.8%.

The good performance of the international data is also observed in the number of operations, with an increase of 1.7% in October and 86,472 flights. In the whole of the Aena network 158,872 flights were registered, 3.5% less than the same month last year. Notable growth was recorded in the airports of Alicante-Elche with 14.1% (6,502 flights); Girona-Costa Brava up by 11.3% (2,833); Jerez 10.4% (3,791) and Reus also up 10.4% (1,607); Lanzarote 8.9% (3,940); FGL Granada-Jaen 7.8% (972); Malaga-Costa del Sol up by 5.1% (9,672), and Gran Canaria 5% (8,364).

In the first ten months of the year the number of international passengers increased by 1.3% reaching a total of 113,614,079. Total passenger traffic from January to October amounted to 163,398,611, which is an increase of 4.4 % over the same period in 2012.

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