WHILE New York Times visited the Costa del Sol and waxed lyrical about the quickly evolving property scene, local tourism chief Elias Bendodo lead a Spanish contingent to the Big Apple as part of a promotional campaign.
The Costa del Sol offensive on American investors and tourists has been steadily gaining ground since the financial crisis slowly dissipated and the dividends are finally paying off.
Exploring the region and explaining its history and quirks to its primarily American readership, the New York Times, perhaps the world’s most iconic newspaper, has declared the Costa del Sol a place to watch closely.
Their analysis takes in the full spectrum of opportunities from Nerja to Algeciras and the authors recognise Marbella as the ‘heart and soul’ of the coast. They point to an increasing mix of foreign property buyers now hailing from Belgium, Russia, and, more than ever, America and China.
Each year the number of US holidaymakers visiting the Costa del Sol has steadily grown, with more than a million crossing the Atlantic to Andalucia last year alone.
Not content with the bumper 2016 summer, the Costa del Sol tourism board has set its sights on America as a future market that could transform the region from a seasonally successful destination to somewhere packed full of visitors throughout the year.
Their coordinated mission begins in New York and will spread right across the prairies to the west coast as the board hopes to secure lucrative funding contracts with golf clubs, airlines, travel agencies and event managers.
Nor do they plan on stopping with America. While Bendodo plies his trade in the US, director general of the tourism board Arturo Bernal has flown to the Far East for a whistle-stop tour of Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
None of those countries have much obvious connection with the Costa del Sol but the eagle-eyed operators at the tourist board see lucrative opportunities, not necessarily from tourists, but from the huge business conference industry that brings in billions each year.