Short Project description 

Malaga is the capital city of a 160 km coastal urban con urbation that includes 12 cities, 1,200,000 inhabitants and 8.5 million officially registered tourists . Malaga has a population of 575,000 inhabitants and received 3.74 million tourists and visitors in 2015, most of them concentrated in a 30 ha are a within the historic centre. On the one hand, it is important to define the concept of tou rists or visitors. We talk about tourists when we refer to people who stay in hotels or apa rtments that are officially registered, and the estimation (also official) of the people who stay in non-registered apartments or friend ’ s homes. On the other, we find the day visitors. These are people who visit the city but don’t sleep there. They may be staying in another city (e.g. Marbel la) and come to Malaga to visit museums, go to a concert or out for a meal.

Registered tourists: 1,210,000

Non-registered tourists: 698,818

Day visitors: 2,390,321

Total: 4,299,139

Registered stays: 2,370,000

The characteristics of urban tourism in Malaga (differe nt from sun and beach tourism) stem from the urban regeneration policies that began in 1995 and t he increase in cultural activities on offer for tourists. As in other European cities, the conversion of the histor ic centre into a pedestrian zone has broadened the public space in order to set up itineraries wit hin the ancient city, covering the main heritage sites. In the last 15 years, many differen t museums have been opened, promoting tourist activities. The Museo Picasso, the Thyss en, the Pompidou, the Museo Estatal Ruso, the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo or the Museo de la Aduana suppose important cultural activities on offer. The main causes of the important increase in hotel accomm odation and the number of visitors are the urban regeneration and the cultural policie s that have been implemented. In 2000, the number of visitors was only of 600,000. This figure has inc reased sixfold to surpass 4 million.

Project status to date

The inherent complexity of the different urban relations hips developed within a city, because they can only happen there (as pointed out by Robert o Camagni), have their ultimate expression in urban tourism. On one hand, as econ omic activity, they generate a positive boost, even with regard to job creation, although we should describe more clearly their quality and results. On the other, an excessive ma ssification of the urban space, the noise and the excessive production of waste in a reduced spac e, lead to inconveniencies for the neighbours and tourists alike. It is not easy to find a solution to the many difficultie s caused by this thriving activity. There are very many interests generated by urban tourism whi ch concern economic, trade and resident groups. Sometimes, there are disagreements b etween them that are not easy to solve.

However, the complexity of this situation should not inte rfere with the priorities that a balanced urban policy should establish regarding the urban morp hology of the Ancient City, the place where conflicts develop between residents and with the historical and cultural heritage. Urban tourism has a strong economic component, not only for tour operators but also for the local economy as a generator of income and wealth. At the same time, it has negative effects derived from the overexposure of heritage to a la rge number of people who visit it and the inconvenience that the permanent occupation of public s paces implies for the local residents. Other inconveniences include the voracity of ext ensive hotel uses, the noise, the production of large quantities of waste or the increase in the cost of housing that is often reconverted into tourist apartments. The physical decline of urban spaces usually coincides with the historic city due to the presence of excessive visitors. It also has an aesthetic quality which has to do with the media simulation that offers false proposals related to the visitor’s mood.

This means the breakdown or modification, at best, of t he urban morphology of a city or historic centre; the change in the balance of uses and activities that used to shape the traditional complex city; and the substitution or even monopo ly of uses related to hotel industry or franchised companies, which cause the displacemen t of traditional small traders. The replacement of traditional residential housing fo r small apartment rental companies or entire buildings destined to hotels, also cause the displ acement of residents. As a consequence, the city or historic centre will not be t he same in the future. It will no longer have the tourist attraction that it once had, and will t urn into a parody, a simulation of the city it once was. In some cities, the continuous overexposure of the ancie nt city to visitors has led to the loss of a large number of residents. This, in turn, means that sightseeing tours, the streets and squares, lack evidence of everyday life. The city starts to look like a film set, with painted fa çades to look nice on the front, but with no real essence behind. The renewal, conversion and revitalisation process th at Malaga`s city centre has experienced since 1995 has produced a clear improvement of the publi c space and the creation of economic and commercial activities, in which the hotel industry and foodservices are particularly important. However, the promotion of the economic activity of the historic centre has also led to the appearance of undesirables effects in the integrated urban p lanning that began with the Urban Programme in the mid-1990s. The balance of the improvement of the physical environment of streets and squares is clearly positive, particularly in the ancient city.

But the fading or disappearance of the old problems has given rise to new challenges, some of them derived from the increase of the culture and leisure a ctivities on offer, and others such that the public administration has been unable to react to in due time. One of the main objectives of the Urban Programme and t he PEPRI in 1990 was to recover the population of the central area of the city, which n ot only was depopulated but also suffering from a strong geriatrification process. The ancient city nowadays has half the number of inhabitant s than in 1981, decreasing from 8,968 to 4,944 inhabitants in 2015. Around the year 1960, its population would have been close to 20,000 inhabitants. A SWOT summary of the weaknesses and difficulties of tou rism in the historic centre can be seen below:

- A High concentration of economic and trade activities (mainly restaurants, bars and franchises) in some areas of the historic centre.

- An abusive use of the public space by terraces and commercial facilities.

- High degree of noise pollution in certain streets and squares.

- Poor implementation of the local regulations related to the residential use of upper floors of buildings.

- Slowness and apathy from the local administration regar ding the implementation of acoustically saturated zones , as well as the establishment of new regulations for the ancient city related to environmental conservation and it s load capacity.

- The apathy in maintaining the street furniture in public space s and the design of certain commercial ground floors which are discordant wit h the heritage and the architecture of the ancient city.

- Unsuitable coordination between municipal departments about t he occupancy rate of the public space (urbanism, trade, environment).

- The need to expand and connect the tourist areas with ot her zones of the historic centre as well as with the city, in order to dissipate the pressure and tourist charge.

- The population decline as a consequence of the increase in house prices and the inconveniences that derive from the effect of overcrowding due to tourism.

- Housing in the historic centre, particularly in the ancient city, has witnessed a strong increase in price. This is why the residential use is replaced by tourist rental accommodation.

- Gradual disappearance of traditional commerce. The success of the value in use of the recovered ancient city implies a high exchange value and therefore, rents have increased.


Pilot Project Documents