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Seville and Malaga: the star performers

January 30, 2012 – 1:30 pm

The Giraldilla, one of Seville's most important symbols. She is normally seen atop the Giralda, the cathedral's minaret-tower.

Late last year, I did a post about Seville’s positive tourism figures – airports and hotels were seeing record numbers of visitors. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that boosts such as these are more needed now than ever.

In fact, recently it was announced that 2011 was the city’s best year ever for visitor numbers, with 2.23 million visitors, of whom 702,123 were from EU countries (of the Spanish visitors, nearly 500,000 were Andalucian).

The airport had nearly five million passengers, which is up an incredible amount on the previous year: 17%, to be exact. Also, 2011 was the first year that more non-Spanish stayed in Seville’s hotels, than domestic visitors. The economic crisis is clearly affecting Spain’s own citizens, in terms of their travels, while foreigners can’t get enough of Andalucia’s capital city.

A street in Marbella old town, one of Malaga province's most famous attractions.

Now a report by the Andalucian Economic Analysis (AEA) has found that in 2012 the economy of Malaga province “could grow by a similar amount as last year”: 0.7%. While this is not enough to create jobs – ojala! – it could “save the province from recession”. In 2011, Malaga’s growth was above the Andalucia average of 0.2% (though this only covers the first three quarters; the figures for October to December 2011 are still to be released), while the AEA predicts a rise in Andalucia’s GDP of 0.4% for 2012. Malaga and Seville, the two provinces which fared best last year, seem to be Andalucia’s star performers for now.

Ronda is one of Malaga's main tourist destinations.

Most interestingly, apart from the tourism figures (hotel visitors in the province were up by 5.5%), Malaga leads in business dynamism, with 3,111 new companies being formed in the province between January and September 2011, which represents a 13.4% increase, and one third of Andalucia’s total. (Obviously, the report doesn’t mention how many closed over that period.)

Malaga's covered market.

The AEA was realistic about unemployment this year, admitting that it’s unlikely to fall, the tourism industry seems to be going from strength to strength; while that is the case, there is at least some cause for optimism.

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