For reasons we’re all very aware of, 2020 was not a great year for business. But with vaccination programmes started in many countries and a collective longing for a return to some semblance of normality, 2021 is looking good.
At Guide to Malaga, we believe that it’s looking particularly good for Malaga. The capital of the Costa del Sol has, we think, exactly what tourists and relocators want and need. And by extension, Malaga makes an excellent place to have a business this year.
But we aren’t basing this belief on a hunch: it’s founded on facts and all of them compelling.
Malaga is safe
In the context of Covid-19, health and safety protocols are at the top of everyone’s priority list. Since lockdown ended in early May last year, Malaga has pulled out all the stops to offer health and safety guarantees. Measures include:
- Safe Travels Seal – the city received the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) recognition last August. The seal recognises tourist destinations that comply with WTTC health and hygiene protocols against Covid-19.
- Malaga Safe For You – this initiative offers weekly antigen tests to employees at companies and associations in the city working in tourism, retail, culture and the food and beverage sector.
- Guaranteed Covid-19 insurance – part of the regional government’s boost to tourism, the policy offers cover of coronavirus-related healthcare, repatriation and enforced quarantine costs for all non-resident tourists who stay in registered accommodation.
At Guide to Malaga, we are well aware that this measure has had huge repercussions among visitors and tourists, all of whom have welcomed the guarantee.
Malaga attracts investment
And plenty of it. Malaga might have seen rock-bottom tourist figures in 2020, but when it comes to investment, the exact opposite is true. Despite the pandemic, international and Spanish businesses poured money into the city.
Hotel investment was particularly strong and several large-scale projects are due for completion within the next 12 to 18 months. Capital comes from Vincci Hotels, Palladium Hotel Group and Soho Boutique Hotels.
Residential construction also saw major investment. Ground was broken on AQ Urban Sky (2 residential towers and the largest construction project in Spain this year) and on Malaga Towers, the most expensive real estate in the city.
The massive investment proves that Malaga is already looking post-pandemic and betting on strong tourism and relocation.
Malaga already has what it takes
The city is no stranger to ranking as best place to live and work. The latest came from Forbes in November last year in its round-up of best places for Americans to live in Europe https://www.forbes.com/sites/ceciliarodriguez/2020/11/08/the-20-best-places-for-americans-to-live-in-europe/.
The US publication picked Malaga for its “high quality of life, security, rich culture, good health care services and sun almost throughout the year”.
Malaga has Google
And the tech giant is never wrong. In mid-February, Google announced it was setting up a cybersecurity centre in Malaga. The centre will focus on research and develop of cybersecurity as well as offer training, workshops and mentoring on the subject.
Google has chosen one of the emblematic buildings on the Paseo de la Farola for its base in Malaga. With views over the Port and just a step away from Calle Larios, the new centre has one of the best postcodes in the city. And it will in turn attract new talent and further business to Malaga.
Malaga has sunshine
Malaga can also call on compelling natural reasons. First of course is the sunshine. Not many places offer 320 guaranteed days of sunshine a year. Malaga is one of them and enjoys the advantage of mild winters. At the time of writing (mid-February), the city is basking in the sun and 20 degrees.
Malaga is open
And has been since mid-May last year. With the exception of a brief hiatus in November and more recently, in February, the city has stayed open.
Cultural events have continued with all museums and theatres open (observing strict Covid-19 protocols, of course). New art exhibitions have continued to arrive – the latest is a retrospective of Miquel Barceló, Spain’s greatest contemporary artist, at the Picasso Museum. And the Malaga Film Festival, the world’s biggest showcase of Spanish cinema, went ahead in August last year despite the pandemic.
Quality culture attracts quality tourism and Malaga will undoubtedly continue to shine as one of southern Europe’s top destinations in 2021 and beyond.
Another reason why this is the year to have a business in Malaga lies in the city’s connectivity. Malaga Airport may be unusually quiet at the moment, but as soon as international mobility returns, direct flights to dozens of European cities will resume. On the ground, there’s an excellent network of high-speed trains to Madrid and Barcelona and highways to the rest of the Costa del Sol and beyond.
Digital connectivity, once important but now absolutely vital, is also good in Malaga. 5G was launched in the city last year and fibre-optic internet is available everywhere.
Malaga is quality value
Price is the final reason to make Malaga your business base in 2021. The city offers quality of life and world-class experiences at one of the most affordable prices in Europe. Where else can you enjoy a tasting menu paired with wine for €65, take in a Barceló exhibition for just €8 and listen to a concert by a Philharmonic Orchestra for €12?
And then, of course, go out into the sunshine and Mediterranean light. See you in Malaga in 2021!
Joanna Styles is CEO of Guide to Malaga https://www.guidetomalaga.com/ offering online information for tourists and residents as well as providing a platform for the promotion of businesses in Malaga and on the Costa del Sol.