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Russian tourism to Marbella up in 2013

Marbella Marbella is witnessing the growing popularity of the town among both Russian tourists and expatriate residents over the past few years. As a result of this blossoming relationship, we now have Russian newspapers and magazines, a TV channel, social networking groups, businesses and even two Russian Orthodox Churches being constructed in the town. You might have noticed too that Russian-speaking staff are also on hand at El Corte Inglés in Puerto Banús to help cope with the increased demand – and don’t forget about the success of the inaugural Marbella Russian Film Festival last summer. So it comes as no surprise to hear that the Russian presence in town continues to grow unabated, according to town hall officials. According to a recent report in the Spanish newspaper Diario Sur, Russian visitors to the sun-drenched shores of Marbella increased by a staggering 50 per cent in 2013. The welcome news was announced by the town’s Councillor for Tourism, José Luis Hernández, who explained that the Russian sector now makes up six per cent of tourist visits to Marbella – based on overnight hotel stays. This is the biggest increase of all the foreign markets and one that continues to have plenty of room for growth, according to a jubilant Hernández. The UK still remains perched at the tourism top spot with almost one in three tourists arriving in Marbella carrying a British passport, with a modest seven per cent increase on the previous year. There has also been significant growth in other established markets such as Belgium (six per cent), Germany (eight per cent) and Scandinavia (ten per cent). Apart from the Russians, the Arabic market has also grown significantly with a 12 per cent increase compared to 2012 – thanks to new flights Málaga airport by Turkish Airlines. With all this in mind, perhaps it’s time we started brushing up on our Russian language skills, as well as English and Spanish in this melting pot of cultures that we call Marbella.