The third edition of the International Fair of Cultural Tourism was opened yesterday at Malaga’s Congress and Exhibition Centre. This event, the only one of its kind in Europe, highlights the importance that cultural tourism has gained in Andalusia and in the rest of Spain.
100 cultural destinations Exhibitors representing 100 cultural destinations are present at this year’s edition of the fair (open until Sunday, 24 September), which is expected to attract buyers, tour operators, and agencies specialising in language school tourism from 15 different countries from all over the world. In addition to visits to museums and monuments, Spain’s main inducements are its traditional fairs and festivals, night life and cuisine.
A booming segment According to the statistics published by Turespaña, last year 7.3 million cultural tourists – chiefly English, French, German, Italian and Dutch – visited Spain, a figure equivalent to 13.2% of all international tourists travelling to the country.
As regards Andalusia, the number of cultural tourists has also increased notably. This trend is particularly noteworthy in the case of Malaga. In the words of Juan Fraile, president of Malaga’s provincial council, “In 2003 only 1% of tourists coming to Malaga visited a museum or a monument. The following year, with the inauguration of the Picasso Museum, the total was up to 5% and, last year, the figure was 10%.” Likewise, Fraile stressed that over half of the tourists visiting Andalusia pass through Malaga.
More than 2.500 million euros in revenues As is the case with congress tourism, cultural tourism generates high revenues. Cultural tourists spend twice as much as traditional tourists and stay longer (eight days on average), as well as helping destinations overcome seasonality. In 2005 the segment generated 2.500 million euros, and prospects for the future are hopeful. However, local and national promotional agencies share the opinion that there is still of lot of work to be done to consolidate this type of tourism.
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