Andalucía 'excited' as 2024 is set to be a record year for arrival of German tourists


Under sunny skies at the inauguration of the ITB Berlin (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin), the world's largest tourism trade fair, on Tuesday 5 March, the Junta de Andalucía's tourism minister, Arturo Bernal, was very optimistic for this year in relation to the German market. The regional minister said that "2024 will be a historic year for Andalucía in the German market", as he cited forecast data of growth of at least 5.5% for this sector above that of the record year of 2019.

"We go to ITB with the same optimism with which we went to the Fitur trade show in Madrid. The region will consolidate and expand growth in Germany. This will mean receiving between 1.2 and 1.5 million German tourists". Bernal also considered that the most important thing is to talk about the economic impact this will have on Andalusian destinations. He put the income generated last year at 1.73 billion euros. "The average expenditure of German tourists in 2023 was 128 euros, fifteen euros more than in 2022," the regional minister explained, before adding that the average stay has also increased by an extra day, to almost ten days.

Ñito Salas

Second most important international market

These figures are key for the Andalusian tourism industry, as Germany is the second most important international market for the destination, including the Costa del Sol. Bernal said the region received 17% more German tourists in 2023, exceeding one million. And he stressed that the good expectations are also based on the expanded airline capacity, which have scheduled 26% more seats from Germany to Andalucía, for the first half of the year. Bernal also noted that this January the region received 61,000 Germans, some 14.5% more than in the same month of 2023, which is 12.7% higher than in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

SUR's tribute dinner to the tourism sector at the ITB in Berlin. Ñito Salas

The regional minister said that to consolidate and expand this growth, Andalucía plans to invest one million euros this year in 23 promotional activities in Germany at fairs and forums to advance the generational renewal of tourists. He said that the upward trend is an incentive to overcome new challenges such as improving the seasonal nature of these visitors and to take new steps to encourage a greater redistribution of tourists throughout the territory.

New type of tourist

Bernal said: "Andalucía is growing and it is doing so in the segments we are most interested in, by attracting a new type of German tourist that goes beyond sun and beach. We want German tourists to visit and stay in a greater number of Andalusian municipalities. If in 2023 they visited 270 towns during their stay in the region and stayed overnight in 37, now we want them to discover 300 towns with new routes and new attractions based on their uniqueness or attractions, such as gastronomy. We have to diversify the offer and redistribute the business to make it more sustainable." Bernal stressed that "the coast remains the main attraction for this visitor, but there is a growing motivation towards the inland areas of the region. So, we will work on the low season and the mobility of tourists throughout the territory, offering them alternatives to visit throughout the year with campaigns aimed especially at young German tourists and with very specific products."

Costa del Sol tourist board stand

This same euphoric atmosphere is reflected in the Costa del Sol's own stand at the ITB, a 200-metre stand located next to the 500-metre Andalusian stand. The mayor of Torrox, Óscar Medina, and the mayor of Rincón de la Victoria, who is also the President of the Turismo Costa del Sol tourism board, Francisco Salado, met in this area, together with the mayor of Torremolinos, Margarita del Cid, and mayor of Ronda, María de la Paz Fernández, who shared a long conversation with the minister of Tourism, Jordi Hereu, during his visit to the stand. Hereu encouraged entrepreneurs and administrations to continue working "as well as they are doing", after informing them of the good expectations for the German market. But he stressed that while the forecasts were positive, that "the important thing is to do the job well". He added that, "the union and diversity of the offer is unbeatable", after agreeing to visit the region soon.

SUR's tribute dinner to the tourism sector at the ITB in Berlin. Ñito Salas

Malaga city councillor for Tourism, Jacobo Florido, said that the city had seen an increase in the average stay of German visitors to 2.7 days this January with those visitors spending more than 200 euros a day, far above the average spent in Spain of 154 euros. "These tourists are looking for a cosmopolitan, urban destination, with gastronomy and cultural offerings. We are very satisfied with the increase in stay and spending, above all," Florido said.

Francisco Salado said: "While the nine main competing destinations are growing by 10.3%, the Costa del Sol is growing three times more, by 35.3%." This welcome trend is boosted by the fact that the airlines have confirmed that they will offer some 700,000 seats to the Costa del Sol between March and September this year, which is 14.3% more than those launched on the market in the same period of 2023. Salado emphasised the improvement of connectivity, both in frequencies and new routes, and has announced that Malaga Airport will have a new connection to Hanover, with 16,380 seats.

Air connectivity is key

The Costa del Sol has invested 700,000 euros this year in the German market. "This investment is evidence of our interest in taking care of this important market for us. Above all, we want to continue to encourage the German visitor who spends a lot of money in the destination," Salado said.

Business was brisk at the work tables on Tuesday, although the businessmen warned of a somewhat weaker first day in terms of the number of professionals. What they did share was the Germans' desire to travel to Andalusian destinations. President of the Malaga Chamber of Commerce, José Carlos Escribano, highlighted the good expectations and valued the fact that the Germans have appreciated the evolution of Andalucía. As a challenge to improve in this market, he pointed to air connectivity as a key strategy to "continue to grow in Germany".

source: sur in english