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April news pt 2

Hilton Group back on the Costa del Sol

The luxury travel industry is investing heavily on the Costa del Sol. It was reported recently that two luxury five star hotels are to be built in the resorts of Marbella and Estepona and a further one in Malaga City.

After a 40 year absence on the Costa del Sol, the Hilton Group is investing in a luxury hotel spa in Benalmadena. The Hilton Group has reached an agreement with the Reserva del Higueron resort that is located between Benalmadena and Fuengirola.

The agreement is great news for the Costa del Sol tourist industry as the 44 million Hilton Fidelity card holders will become potential visitors to the area attracted by the weather, culture and food. The agreement will also improve the Costa del Sol’s position in the American tourist industry.

12 million seats from Malaga airport

The Easter weekend saw the start of the summer flight schedule and Malaga International airport which serves the Costa del Sol has announced that starting from the 6th April, the airlines have programmed 69,300 flights. That equates to nearly 12 million seats that will cover 194 routes from Malaga to a total of 127 destinations.

The data released by AENA aviation authority shows that Malaga airport is becoming busier than it ever has and is becoming the major focus of some airline companies.

The number of seats available will increase by 2.1% with immediate effect until the end of October. This period last year was a record time for the airport. The number of journeys for the same period is to rise by 1.5%. The greatest increase will be to the USA with 23% more seats being made available and nearly 29% more flights.

Emerging markets and markets on the increase such as Asia and the East are seeing increased flight numbers with Turkish airlines increasing their flight numbers from 10 to 13 flights per week. This route saw a 30% increase in the number of passengers in 2014. Finnair also plans to double its flights between Malaga and Helsinki which is used as an alternative route for the Asian continent.

The signs are that 2015 will be another record breaking year and the airlines are ensuring that the demand is well catered for.

Costa del Sol town in top 50 places to live in the world

The quiet town of Ojen sits in the foothills of the Sierra de Nieves with the mountain range to its back and the sea to its front. A perfect location recognised in The Times newspapers list of the best 50 place to live in the world.

There are only 3,000 inhabitants in the town and it is hoped that by appearing on The Times list, tourism will be greatly boosted. The town of Ojen appeared higher on the list than Rome, Paris and Stockholm. Locations were assessed by such factors as quality of life, infrastructure, the gastronomy of the area, the climate, the environment and the surroundings. Another consideration was how well British residents could integrate into the community.

The news that Ojen had made number 35 on the list was welcomed by the town’s mayor and hoped that tourists would recognise Ojen as a first class tourist destination offering an authentic Andalusian experience.

Ojen lies between the busy and popular resort of Marbella and the Sierra de las Nieves nature park which makes it perfectly located for nature based tourism and adventure holidays. Other attractions and charms of the town are the narrow cobbled streets lined with decorative flower pots, whitewashed buildings and superb views of the sea and the coastline.

An eggcellent Easter

Hostelry professionals, restaurant and bar owners have been celebrating a bumper Easter period which turned out to be a lot better than expected.

For the first time in a long time people had to wait for a table in restaurants or search for a place to lay down their towels on the beach. The Easter period really did bring back the good old times to the Costa del Sol.

With increased confidence in the economy, a week of above average temperatures and glorious sunshine saw tourists flocking to the area in their droves, beating all expectations for the period. The Andalucian tourist board have stated that a total of 1.2 million visitors headed for Andalucia for the Easter period and 35% of these visitors stayed in the Malaga province.

In Malaga City it was reported that tourists spent an estimated 34.7 million euros during the Easter week (Semana Santa). On the costa bar and restaurant owners reported that they had earned 10 days of summer earnings over the same period.

It would appear that 2015 may well be another record breaking year for tourism on the Costa del Sol.

Starlite festival in Marbella

The headline acts that will be at the Starlite Festival in Marbella this year have another two world renowned acts confirmed.

In February it was announced that some of the headline acts for the festival which runs from 22nd July to 23rd August included Lenny Kravitz, Lionel Richie and Andrea Bocelli. Recently added to this list are 70’s disco group The Village People and Spanish born international pop superstar Enrique Iglesias.

This will be Enrique’s second appearance at the festival following his sell out performance last year. Enrique will be performing at the festival on the 13th August.

Recovery gathers momentum

Data released shows that recent unemployment figures have brought hope that the long recession is over and that the recovery is gathering momentum.

The figures have shown that for the first time in eight years, February’s unemployment figures fell in the Malaga province. But it was not only Malaga enjoying positive news, the figures for across Spain also saw drops in unemployment.

The data is a month on month comparison and although the drop in the number of people unemployed in February compared to January was slight, a year on year comparison shows that unemployment fell by a total 13,447 in the Malaga Province. The construction sector enjoyed the biggest increase in employment with 730 new jobs created. This shows that confidence in the property sector is continuing to grow along with the number of people looking to invest.

Nationally it was the largest year on year fall in unemployment figures since 1999 and once again the Costa del Sol is at the forefront of the recovery process. There was also in increase in the number of people employed in the hotel, hospitality and tourism sector; the amount of tourists visiting the province increased by 10% compared to the same period last year.
Along with their being more tourists, visitors were also spending more money than they did in the same period in 2014. The Industry, Energy and Tourism Ministry reported that visitors to the province spent 19.4% more during their stays.

The report also confirmed that it was the British who spent the most which was the second month in a row that they had done so.

Affordable beachside Spanish property attracts the British

The improvements in the Spanish property market have led to a wave of potential British buyers enquiring about affordable beachside properties. This is definitely something that Spain and particularly the Costa del Sol has plenty of.
Spain is enjoying a wider economic recovery which has assisted with the recovery of the property market and is starting to reach pre-crisis figures in terms of transactions and money invested. However this time there is a greater transparency and buyers are definitely more knowledgeable.

Financial experts Bloomberg have stated that the British are the largest group of foreign investors in the Spanish property market. This is due to low interest rates on British savings accounts and domestic property prices. This situation has led to British investors finding the Spanish property market more attractive with its excellent affordable beachside properties such as villas, apartments and townhouses.

Due to the market factors in the UK, investing in a beautiful Spanish property, UK investors has been boosted by the pounds 13.5% rise against the euro in the past 12 months making Spanish property more affordable and leading to possible higher returns in the long term.

The Spanish economy is growing fast and is attracting investors from all over the world and not just the UK. This has also led to sales to Spanish investors increasing as confidence grows in the property market and the economy. There was an increase of 2.2% in property transactions to Spanish investors in 2014.

First home demand has been primarily in Spain’s major cities but second home demand has increased in coastal areas which have been led by foreign investment. Areas such as the Costa del Sol are attracting international funds to purchase land in the region to account for the rising demand for property. In Marbella alone, 400 units are currently under construction, the highest figure for over six years.

Marbella on the rise again

The Costa del Sol’s most well-known resort Marbella has a population of around 140,000 but as summer approaches this figure increases to around 600,000 as people flock to power shop, yacht gaze, sunbathe on the splendid beaches and enjoy a great night out full of fine cuisine and refreshments.

The main selling point that attracts visitors and residents alike is the microclimate Marbella finds itself in. Marbella is tucked between the mountains and the Mediterranean which leads to slightly cooler summers and warmer winters than its neighbouring resorts and the Costa del Sol has more sun than any other area along the Mediterranean coastline.

Since the 1960’s and 70’s Marbella has always been a popular destination for Europe’s jet set elite. But with the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, Marbella like so many other areas saw property prices and sales plunge. But now the resort has had a remarkable turnaround due to a lot of interest from Middle Eastern and Scandinavian investors, a much better infrastructure and the all year around appeal which is attracting younger buyers. There is also a new generation of homeowners that now commute to central and northern Europe during the working week and then return to enjoy long weekends in the sun, taking advantage of the warmer weather and the improved access to the town.

Marbella is a short 30 minute drive from the recently expanded Malaga International Airport that has very good regular connections to nearly all of Europe’s major cities. There is also the high speed railway that runs between Malaga and Madrid, just under a 3 hour journey and the plan to expand the coastal railway through Marbella has put Marbella back on the map. Property sales in Marbella in 2014 increased by a massive 28% compared to 2013.

Third national park for Andalucia

The Sierra de las Nieves is set to become the third national park in Andalucia, Donana and Sierra Nevada are the other two.

All the paperwork should be through by the end of the year when the area will receives its national park status. The head of the regional Environment Department said ‘Sierra de las Nieves will have a band of distinction and will become very important’. It was also emphasised that by receiving national park status there will be a social economic impact that will generate new jobs especially in the ecotourism sector allowing local people to remain in the area.

When all the paperwork is done, Andalucia will be the only region in Spain to have three national parks within its boundaries and with assistance from the Environmental authorities will see more income and more investment arriving in the area.

This is more welcome news for the area following the town of Ojen being placed 35th on the top 50 places to live in the world. The small town is situated in the foothills of the Sierra de Nieves Mountains.

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