MALAGA is officially the fastest growing urban tourist destination in Spain, new figures have shown.
According to the town hall, the city hosted more than 1.3 million tourists last year, 9% more than in 2016.
Tourism councillor for Malaga Julio Andrade said the numbers exceeded ‘even the most optimistic of forecasts’ and are based on the ‘extraodinary behaviour of international markets’.
The boom is thanks to international tourists, who accounted for 900,000 travellers last year and caused hotel stays to increase by 18%.
They are picking up the slack in national tourists, which dropped by 3% (just over 500,000).
Brits remained at the top in terms of visitor numbers at 119,000, an increase of over 20%.
Andrade said Malaga is once again the fastest growing urban destination in Spain, ahead of Palma de Mallorca and Zaragoza (both up 6.96%), Barcelona (3.30%) , Bilbao (3.19%), Sevilla (2.77%), Madrid (2.51%), Cordoba (1.62%), Valencia (1.36%) and Granada (-2.76%).
Malaga capital has also grown more than the average of Spain (3.61%), Andalucia (2.42%) and Malaga province itself (1.28%).
According to the data, the city is also the municipality of the province with the highest number of travellers staying and the for the longest of periods.
The average stay in hotel establishments exceeded 1.90 days and the occupancy rate stood at 79.4%, just behind Barcelona, ??which obtained 81.64%.
Evolution of markets
The nationalities that grew the most in 2017 in terms of visiting Malaga were Lithuania (83.3% more), Poland (51.5%), Mexico (50.1%), Ukraine (48.3%), South Korea (42.7%), Sweden (40.8%), Canada (37.9%), Finland (35%), Denmark (31.4%) and Argentina (30.2%).
In absolute terms, the most important international issuer for the city is still the UK, with 119,280 travelers, a rise of 21.54%, followed by Germany, with 66,297 travelers (25.96% more); Italy, with 59,655 tourists (7.98%); France, with 55,674 people (3.37%), the United States, with 43,748 travelers (27.84%); and the Netherlands, with 43,492 travelers (6.36%).
In the national market, the Autonomous Communities that have grown most in visitors to Malaga are Catalunya (19.67%) and Madrid (5.60%).
In absolute terms, the communities that bring the largest number of travelers to hotels in the city are Andalucia, with 193,262 tourists (-5.21%), followed by Madrid, with 92,831 tourists (5.60% more), and Catalunya, with 43,466 tourists (19.67%).