Tourism could save Malaga from recession this year
Analysts forecast a 0.7 per cent growth in the provincial economy for 2012, an identical increase to that of last year.
The threat of recession looms over the Spanish economy, but Malaga might just steer clear of it thanks to the one thing that sets the province apart from much of the rest of the country: tourism. While uncertain times such as these call for caution, experts from Andalusian Economic Analysts (AEA) believe that in 2012 the province’s economy could grow by a similar amount as last year: 0.7 per cent. The coordinator of the AEA reports, Felisa Becerra, admits that this slight increase would “by no means be enough to create employment”, but, she adds, that 0.7% could save the province from recession with figures above the Andalusian average.
Last year’s growth in Malaga was above the Andalusian average which stayed at 0.2 per cent, according to Unicaja estimates with the fourth quarter statistics still to be released. Only Seville did better than Malaga with growth of one per cent. The rest of the Andalusian provinces registered a slight fall in economic activity, the worst results being in Almeria. For 2012 AEA predicts that Andalucía’s GDP will rise by 0.4 per cent.At the presentation of this most recent report, Felisa Becerra stressed the importance of the tourism industry in this minor growth, as well as the improved commercial balance.
Malaga is the Andalusian province with the smallest fall in the sale of motor vehicles: between January and September 2011 sales fell by 23.5 per cent compared with the Andalusian average of 32 per cent. This is also the leading province in the region for business dynamism with a total of 3,111 new companies formed in the first nine months of last year, an increase of 13.4% per cent and a third of the regional total.
However what is really propping up the local economy is the tourism industry which showed clearly positive figures in 2011. The number of visitors staying in hotels increased by 5.5 per cent between January and September, reaching a total of almost 3.5 million. This improvement comes hand in hand with a growth of 12 per cent in foreign visitors while national tourists fell by one per cent. This year the Andalusian Analysts believe that the results will be similar to those of 2011. Despite the positive tourism figures 2012 is not set to be a year for creation of employment. The AEA was clear that unemployment is unlikely to fall this year and that the rate (which is already over 30 per cent) could rise even further. While the AEA points out that this is above all a time of “great uncertainty”, the “first steps are being taken” towards the end of the crisis.
By: Tene Sommer
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