THE Costa del Sol is the best rated overall destination for beach holidays in Spain, a new study shows.
This was revealed by the second annual Oak Power Communication (OPC) which studied the position in international media of Spanish tourism brands amongst 600 trade journalists globally.
As a specific beach resort Marbella was knocked off from last year’s top spot by Ibiza in the ranking, followed by Lanzarote in third place.
The Cadiz resort of Tarifa – a favourite among wind and kite surfers – appears sixth in the top beaches list ahead of destinations including Las Americas in Tenerife or La Manga in Murcia. For the second year running Marbella appears on the list of fashionable and trendy cities.
This year Marbella dropped one place to come in fourth, after Barcelona, Madrid and Bilbao.
Meanwhile, the study also shows the region of Andalucia enjoys the best ‘brand image’ in Spain.
As a general tourist brand, Andalucia was rated 8.5 out of 10 by journalists, followed by Madrid and Barcelona, with 8 and 7.5 respectively, the same classification obtained in 2011.
Sierra Nevada and the Alhambra Palace in Granada got top marks heading their respective categories as best destinations for nature and monuments.
Although Malaga failed last year in its bid to be named ‘European City of Culture 2016’ the study shows it is among favourites for culture vultures with Malaga’s Thyssen and Picasso museums appearing in 8th place ahead of Sevilla or Toledo.
OPC director Maria Asenjo said Andalucia as a tourist destination enjoys a “fabulous image” world-wide due to its rich culture, its gastronomy, music, nature, beaches and history, among others.
The main challenge for the region remains the adaptation to a tourism infrastructure more adapted to cater for environmental concerns as well as increased professionalism through the industry, she said.
Barcelona was voted the best city for tourists, closely followed by Valencia in second, which pushed last year’s first choice Madrid to third place in the ranking.
By John Jackson