Marbella Town Hall’s general director of tourism, Laura de Arce, explained that although “it’s a bit too early to know how all this is going to affect the tourism industry”, the lack of Russian tourism “has has been felt” in Marbella and the Costa del Sol region of southern Spain over the past two years as “Russian tourists have been unable to travel due to the pandemic”.
Figures show that 1.3 million Russian tourists visited Spain in 2019, meaning they were hugely important to tourism in the country before Covid hit. This number began to decline during the pandemic.
However, she explained, “Marbella still has a high number of Russian residents owning properties in the city.”
“Many of them have spent the pandemic here or part of it and currently maintain their residency here.”
When asked if the lack of Russian visitors was a cause for concern and if she was worried about it, Laura replied: “Of course. Both markets [Russians and British] are essential for Marbella.”
The Mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz, explained: “We are currently living in times of uncertainty due to the invasion of Ukraine, but we want to be optimistic and hope that the war will not last long and that the peace that we all wish so much will happen soon and that it will bring stability to the markets.
“If so, according to the forecasts and studies we have, the next summer season could be a historic summer, with even better data than before the pandemic.”
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The mayor of the popular Costa del Sol town added: “Marbella offers those who visit us fantastic relaxation options and activities in all its surroundings, with a unique tourist offer and exceptional safety and health measures at any time. Our city is ready to welcome visitors and offer them a unique experience.”
General Director of Tourism Laura de Arce explained that “after two years with hardly any Russian tourism”, Marbella has opted for other destinations and “focused our promotion on the Middle East and the United States”. .
After a few years with very low occupancy rates, only the British will be able to save Marbella’s summer this year, according to Laura.
“To achieve the occupancy rates we had in 2019, it’s vital that Britons come back.
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But how are the Russians who used to visit Marbella?
Laura explained: “The profile of the Russian tourist fits the two types that are attracted to Marbella: the visitor who travels in high season in search of the beach, water activities, leisure, gastronomy and the rest of the which make our destination a unique place by the variety of its offer.
“And that tourist who prefers to visit us at a less busy time of year in order to enjoy the excellence of our services and the quality of life in Marbella in a more exclusive way.”
Speaking about how the price increase will affect UK holidaymakers and whether or not they will cancel their summer holidays to prioritize other spending, she said: “The price increase we are seeing in this moment affects everyone.
“However, it is true that the British tourist who visits Marbella often has higher purchasing power, so while they will also suffer from the price increase, they will not suffer in the same way.
“We want to be optimistic and believe that by the summer the situation will have improved.
“As I said before, it’s already been two years with many restrictions in the UK and we are sure that we can more or less count on them.
“We are confident that this summer will be good enough, as long as levels of the pandemic continue as they are now and the armed conflict comes to an end,” Laura concluded.