British tourists continue to lead the way in the Costa del Sol holiday market

Image of tourists on a Costa del Sol beach.

Image of tourists on a Costa del Sol beach. Credit: Caron Badkin/

MALAGA continues to be one of the favorite foreign destinations in all international tourist markets for British tourists.

As reported by Francisco Salado, the the president of the Malaga Provincial Council and Costa del Sol Tourism, the latest data show that a total of 821,907 visitors from the UK stayed in hotels and apartments on the Costa del Sol in the period between January and August 2023.

Despite numbers for 2023 showing an improvement on 2022, figures have still not reached the record levels registered in 2109 Salado explained.

How do the figures compare to 2022?

As demonstrated by these latest data, the market is slowly recovering bit by bit each year. Compared to 2022, this year’s numbers represent an increase of 8.3 per cent but are still 7.7 per cent down on 2019.

As for overnight stays, there were a total of 4,252,739 in the aforementioned period of this year. Again, this represents an increase of almost 6 per cent compared to 2022, but remains 10 per cent behind the booming numbers of 2019.

An increase in the arrival of British people at Malaga airport was also observed between January and August, 2023 added Salado.

Almost two million British tourists were recorded, specifically, 1,830,505 people. Compared to 2022, the data has increased by 12 per cent, but compared to 2019 it is 10.7 per cent lower.

Salado pointed out that Malaga Airport is the third most chosen airport in Spain by travellers from Great Britain. Only the Balearic Islands and Alicante received a higher number of Brits, with the Andalucian facility ahead of those in Madrid, Barcelona, Girona and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Malaga connects to 17 cites across the UK

The president of the Provincial Council has highlighted that this was the result of Malaga Airport being very ‘competitive’. It connects to 17 cities in the UK, from where the highest number of travellers were shown to have departed from the airports of London, Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham.

When comparing these latest figures with those of the rest of the provinces of Andalucia and with national data, Salado stressed that Málaga has ‘unbeatable leadership’ when talking about the British market.

He revealed that the number of travellers passing through Malaga, 70.3 per cent were from the United Kingdom while only 9.3 per cent were nationals from Spain.

What percentage of overnight stays in Malaga were British?

Overnight stays in Malaga accommodation included 79 per cent British and 8.5 per cent Spanish. In relation to the arrival of British people at the Costa del Sol airport, their total represented 88.3 per cent of the total figure and was equivalent to 12.5 of the entire country.

When analysing this data, Salado pointed out that just as overnight stays are increasing, so are expenses, because Malaga has managed to be a destination of ‘more quality and less quantity’, which is why ‘more and more demanding tourists are coming’, he insisted.

‘They leave satisfied because they have paid and found what they were looking for’, the president added. Likewise, he is convinced that ‘in 2024 we will be at the 2019 data, just as we have already achieved with the German market’.

Furthermore, he added that by managing to increase the presence of the Nordic, Dutch and Belgian markets, and that the French are interested in the Costa del Sol, as reported by

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at