From a touristic perspective, the Málaga City had an historic year in 2013. It was not in vain that the capital city positioned itself amongst the great Spanish urban destinations in accordance with the analysed indicators and it was even the leader with regard to the country's growth in some such as the increase of the hotel overnight stays and the average occupancy during the past financial year.
Málaga's hotels offered accommodation to nearly a million travellers in 2013 explained the City Councillor for Culture, Tourism and Sports, Damián Caneda, today although the closing figures for December are not yet available. These tourists stayed overnight nearly 2 million times, a figure that had never before been achieved in our tourist destination. In fact, Málaga was the Spanish urban destination in which overnight stays increased the most during the entire financial year.
These figures mean that hotel overnight stays in the Málaga City have grown by more than 7%, an increase that is higher by 2 points when compared to even the most optimistic forecasts made at the start of the year. The City Councillor has also stressed that the average stay has been 2.05 days, which confirms that Málaga has been consolidated as a great city break cultural destination. Similarly, Caneda has also emphasised the important growth in the hotel occupancy rate, which was just below 65% at the closure of the financial year, 4 per cent points more than in 2012.
Just as important to stress in the opinion of the City Councillor is the fact that the differences between the best and the worst month of the year have never been higher than 40 percentage points while this difference is higher than 60 points at other destinations. This fact shows that the seasonal nature is much less pronounced in Málaga City than at other destinations of the country.
The City Councillor has highlighted in this sense that the Tourism Department (in Spanish Área de Turismo) has put in motion some lines of work that clearly have a bearing on the break with this seasonal nature. Caneda has emphasised that Málaga Convention Bureau is stressing the need of bringing fairs and conferences to our city during low season times and it has highlighted the good effect of the transversality policy put into operation between the areas of culture, tourism and sports.
“This line of work has managed to move the image of Málaga as a tourist destination with a strong event agenda that also has the special feature of diversifying what is on offer during the year and, therefore, covering months in which a lower occupation rate could occur when compared to the period of a higher occupation," stated the Councillor.
Examples of the activities include the Málaga City Marathon that has been held at the Inmaculada bridge or the Málaga Spanish Cinema Festival but also other events such as the final match of the Copa del Rey de Baloncesto (Basketball King's Cup) to be held in February or the International Choir Festival "Málaga canta en Primavera" (Málaga sings in Spring) that will take place in Málaga in March 2014.
The fantastic tourism performance of 2013 is mainly due to the results of the international markets. For example, a total of 496,969 foreign tourists stayed at the city's hotels between January and November 2013, an increase of 5.6%. These travellers have registered a total of 1,115,157 stays, an increase of 17.8%, at the city's establishments. In relative terms, the markets that enjoyed the greatest growth were China (110% more), Turkey (62.3% more), Germany (29.8% more), Switzerland (21.1% more) and Norway (16% more).
In absolute terms, however, the most important international markets for Málaga are still the United Kingdom (with 68,048 travellers, 0.2% more), France (54,869, 3.4% more) Germany (50,617, 29.8% more), Italy (38,917, 9.2% more) and the Netherlands (30,401, 1.6% more).
On the other hand, the domestic market continues to produce negative figures despite the recovery during November in the annual consolidation. A total of 399,826 travellers, 6.5% less, have stayed in the city's hotels during January and November. These tourists have registered a total of 721,538 hotel stays, 5.3% less, in the city. Murcia (35.2% more), Valencia (21.3% more), the Basque Country (19.8% more) and Ceuta and Melilla (18.3% more) are the ones that have shown a better performance should we see the figures from a community perspective.
According to Caneda, this satisfactory performance should be extended to the year that has just started since clear indications are being seen of an economic recovery. The Tourism Department will continue to pay special attention to all promotions both in the consolidated markets and in the emerging ones to ensure we maintain this growth line according to the City Councillor.