IT has always been a bit of a stereotype of the Costa del Sol, the image of sunburned Brits and Germans, frolicking on the beaches.
But, especially these days, they are joined by sunburned Scandinavians. The attraction of Scandinavians begins, of course, with tourism. Many come here for vacation, fall in love with the climate, services, shopping and culture. They then decide to get something more permanent, whether that is a second, holiday home or to move here for retirement or with their family.
In addition, according to studies, Scandanavians spend more time and money than any other demographic group of tourists. Danish and Swedish tourists, for instance, spend an average of 10 days on the Costa and €1,330, compared to Germans, next in terms of vacation extravagance. On average, they spend eight and a half days and €1,157.
That may not seem like a huge difference but when you consider that over 5 million Scandinavians take their vacations in Spain every year that’s about €1 billion. You can understand why the Costa del Sol Tourist Board announced in February a new promotional campaign this year, focused in large part on Scandinavia. And, as I said, there is a kind of ladder, wherein vacationers come, fall in love and establish a more permanent relationship with our beautiful Costa del Sol. Next thing you know, they’re buying houses and apartments.
This has accelerated, if anything, as remote working has taken hold, allowing people in certain industries to work anywhere in the world.
And there has been another, unexpected impetus: the war in the Ukraine. It has been reported in some media that wealthy Scandinavians, especially from Finland and Sweden, are buying up resale homes that are ready for possession. Both countries recently applied for membership of NATO – to the chagrin of Russia, which has threatened repercussions.
Of the nearly 270,000 foreigners who have sunk roots in Malaga province alone, about 20,000 are Scandinavian. That means that Scandinavians make up 7.5% of foreign residents in Malaga province, although they are equal to less than 5% of the population of the EU.
On the Costa del Sol as a whole, Swedes alone account for 30,000 people and make up 6.4% of all home sales to foreigners in Marbella.
One estimate back in 2013 put the number of Scandinavians in this region at 80,000. And their numbers have only grown since.
It’s no wonder that so many services have popped up over the years catering to the large and growing Scandinavian population. It’s also why Norwegian Airlines flies from 10 destinations in Scandinavia to Malaga airport. And why so many hotels and resorts now have brochures in Scandinavian languages, likewise menus in many restaurants. It’s become a virtuous circle where one element reinforces the other.