The Arab tourism has returned to the Costa del Sol town of Marbella after 2 years of absence due to the restrictions on mobility imposed by the pandemic, so the veils and brown faces They return to walk the streets of the old town, the city center or the luxurious Puerto Banús.
This year the end of Ramadan has not marked the arrival of visitors in the locality, if not the Festival of the Lamb, and at the end of June and the beginning of July “it seemed that the Arab tourists had not finished disembarking after 3 years without traveling, but little by little they have been arriving and the hotels have a large quantity of clients”, according to the Director of Tourism of the Marbella City Council, Laura de Arce.
The municipal official has pointed out that the visitor profile from arab countries has been changing since the beginning of the season, since during June and July “a younger and more westernized tourist” whom “we are not used to seeing”, who arrived in “gangs” and with an age “between 30 and 40 years”, but in August he assured that “the tourist who used to come to the city has arrived and that it is faithful to Marbella”, being a “more familiar tourism”.
The forecasts for the month of august point to an increase in the arrival of these visitors, since as indicated by the director of tourism, “the Arabs usually come in the summer months of July and August”, in addition to having a festive date close to the Immaculate Bridge, for which he has stressed that the City Council places a “special emphasis” on tourism promotion so that these travelers “come to see us during the month of December to alleviate the low season ”.
The visit of the Arab Royal Houses It is another of the classics of Marbella summers, and this year they have returned to the city, so these days it is not uncommon to find a high-end car parked near the old town, surrounded by numerous staff. “The Royal Houses are here going out and visiting the center of Marbella, Puerto Banús, the restaurants or the promenade”, added the municipal official.
In this way, De Arce has assessed that arrival of Arab tourists has increased “by 100%” compared to 2020 and 2021marked by the restrictions on mobility imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, with the main issuing countries of Arab tourism on the Costa del Sol the traditional ones such as “Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia”, which are the ones that provide the tourist destination with “the most loyal and repetitive clients”.
Likewise, the opening of the borders between Spain and Morocco last May has had a positive impact on the arrival of tourists from the African country, noting that “there are more and more tourists from Morocco”. On the demand of Arab clients in the city, he has pointed to “the quality, the shopping experiences and some of them the nightlife”being highlighted the visit to the luxurious Puerto Banús of this type of tourism.
From the navy they have indicated that the behavior of the Arab market “is similar to that of recent years” and “once Ramadan or the Feast of the Lamb has passed -which this year has been later than usual-, we visit afterwards for a couple of weeks”.
The Puerto Banús concessionaire expects like this in August “have better forecasts than last yearsince in general the international tourist has grown with double-digit figures, although the Arab seems to be changed in his habits and his destinies opting for the surrounding countries”, being “the Moroccan coast one of the favorite summer destinations”.
On the other hand, they have pointed out that the opening of the borders “is always great news”, for which the agreement between Spain and Morocco has generated a “positive” impact for Puerto Banús. The profile of the Arab tourist who visits the nautical space is that of “a very demanding visitor who demands very high level experiences both in fashion and in boats, gastronomy or automobiles”, being “a high or very high class tourist”.
The president of the Association of Entrepreneurs of Puerto Banús, Giuseppe Russo, has indicated that there has been a “significant increase in this type of customer” and “every day more Arabs who have houses here come back.”
For this reason, it has been assessed that in August it is expected that “there will be more people if there are no problems in air transport” until the 22nd or 23rd, which is when the curve begins to “lower”. The “luxury” of Puerto Banús is one of the biggest claims looking for this type of customers, with the demand for “big brands of high standing” by women and “watches and cars” by men.
For his part, businessman Miguel Gómez has been running the Gomez and Molina jewelry storeslocated both in Puerto Banús and in the center of Marbella, highlighting that in the city “there are many Arabs, but they are spending less in shops”. Compared to the years of the pandemic, Gómez has highlighted that the situation of the Arab market in the town “is a little better than during the last two or three years, in which they have hardly come”, estimating that the increase ranges between ” 30 and 35%”.
The businessman has pointed out that the Arab client who visits the municipality “has economic capacity and knowledge of the products”The one who likes “buy international brands of all kinds such as fashion, accessories or jewelry”, in addition to “a good deal”, highlighting “the important offer that Marbella has” in that sense in the shopping segment.
In the particular field of jewelry, Gómez has indicated that there is in the today “the trend vintage, that already started in the past 2021” and “ladies demand designer jewelry that is different” to differentiate itself, with a predilection for materials such as “white, yellow or pink gold”, while “gentlemen demand branded watchmaking”.
The representative of the Association of Hoteliers of Malaga (MAHOS), on the Costa del Sol Luis Quiroga, has pointed out that “there is not a lack of Arab tourists, but there is not an explosion either”. The preferences of these visitors in the culinary field revolve around “halal food” and “in most cases they do not consume alcohol”, has pointed out the hotelier, who has assured that it is “a clientele that spends money”. In addition, request traditional Spanish food such as “fish or rice”.
Other businesses have pointed out that the arrival of Arab tourists this summer in Marbella has been noticed from July 9, after the end of the Lamb Festival, date from which the demand has increased, although there is also a notable volume of cancellations.
By countries of origin, they have pointed out that The Qatari market does not usually travel in Augustso that as of the 20th “their presence will decrease”, since the school year in Saudi Arabia starts on the 22nd of this month.