Overtourism in Andalucia: These places are saturated

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Andalucia tourism

Andalucia faces a major challenge about tourism. The impact of tourism in the region is enormous, both positive and negative. A recent study into overtourism by the regional Ministry of Tourism and Culture concludes that 48 municipalities in the region are heavily overloaded by tourists.

This overload requires a special approach. Seville, Málaga, Cádiz and Fuengirola are some of the most affected places.

Results of the study

In May, Arturo Bernal, head of the ministry, presented a study by the public company for Tourism and Sport in Andalucia (EPGTDA). It showed that “91% of respondents view tourism as positive for the local economy and employment.” Only 16% were in favour of a tourist tax. This tax remains a point of discussion between the Junta and the municipalities. Although some parties are in favour of an additional tax to relieve tourist pressure, Francisco Salado, president of the Diputación de Málaga, remains opposed to tax increases. This can harm the competitive position of tourist destinations. The research also mapped tourist saturation.

Tourist overload

According to the study, 48 municipalities in Andalucia are heavily saturated with tourists. These municipalities experience a high density and intensity of visitors. The coastal provinces of Málaga, Granada and Cádiz are the hardest hit. In Málaga this concerns the following 17 municipalities: Manilva, Gaucín, Algatocín, Jubrique, Jimera de Líbar, Ronda, Fuengirola, Benalmádena, Torremolinos, Málaga, Viñuela, Almáchar, Canillas de Albaida, Cómpeta, Torrox, Frigiliana and Nerja.

Granada has 11 heavily tourist-saturated municipalities: Almuñécar, Arenas del Rey, Lanjarón, Pampaneira, Trevélez, Güejar Sierra, Capileira, Monachil, Granada, Gor and Nevada.

In Cádiz, overtourism occurs in the following municipalities: Cádiz City, Conil de la Frontera, Barbate, Tarifa, Alcalá de los Gazules, El Bosque, Grazalema, Zahara and Olvera. In the province of Huelva these are Sanlúcar de Guadiana, Cortelazor, Fuenteheridos and Los Marines. The province of Jaén has Santa Elena, Santiago-Pontones, La Iruela and Cazorla as municipalities overloaded by tourism. Almería has only two municipalities that suffer from tourist overload: Vélez-Blanco and Mojácar. In the province of Seville, only the city is in this list.

Medium and low load

In addition to the heavily saturated municipalities, there are 47 municipalities with a medium tourist load, including Córdoba City. The province of Córdoba has no overloaded municipalities. In Seville, Algámitas and El Ronquillo have medium saturation and in Cádiz it concerns Chipiona, Rota and Benaocaz. Huelva has more municipalities on this list, namely Santa Bárbara de Casa, Hinojos, Santa Ana la Real, Aracena, Ayamonte, Isla Cristina, Punta Umbría and the capital of Huelva. The province of Granada has eight: El Pinar, La Taja, Bérchules, Diezma, Freila, Castril, Polopos and Pinos Genil. Also eight municipalities with average saturation in Almería: Fondón, María, Bacares, Sorbas, Los Gallardos, Vera, Almería and Níjar.

Cogesa Expats

Malaga is one of the provinces that attracts the most tourism and has 12 municipalities with average saturation, such as Estepona, Benahavís, Marbella, Mijas, Parauta, Tolox, El Burgo, Montejaque, Ardales, Fuente de Piedra, Comares and Villanueva del Rosario. In Jaén there are five: the city of Jaén, Hinojares, Pozo Alcón, Segura de la Sierra and Hornos.

There are also 41 municipalities with low tourist saturation, such as Jerez de la Frontera and Motril, where the number of visitors remains manageable.


The explosive growth of tourism in Andalucia leads to several challenges, such as noise pollution, waste problems and illegal holiday rentals. The last challenge leads to an inaccessible housing market for starters and people with low incomes. The government has opened an investigation into rental platforms that offer unregistered properties. In Seville alone, more than half of the holiday homes offered online turned out not to have a permit.

Prevention of tursimophobia

Unlike cities like Barcelona, ​​there doesn’t seem to be any turismophobia in Málaga. Francisco Salado emphasises the importance of tourism for the region and points to initiatives to raise awareness. The Diputación recently launched a campaign to inform students about the benefits of tourism under the motto ‘Tourism is good for everyone. Let’s take good care of it!’

Also read: Turismofobia pops up in Sevilla

Methodology of the research

To carry out the study Residents’ Perception of Tourism in Andalucia, the different levels of saturation in the autonomous community in the tourist municipalities considered were taken into account. This classification was determined based on the tourist population criterion (number of non-residents with a temporary stay because they are visiting or staying in tourist accommodations). Of the 785 municipalities in Andalucia, 136 could be classified as tourist municipalities according to the Junta’s methodology. That is 17% of the total number of cities and towns in the region. The study uses indicators of tourism intensity and density to rank municipalities. These indicators were calculated based on the number of tourists per square kilometer and the number of available places to stay. Based on this data, it was determined which municipalities have high, medium or low saturation.

Also read: Costa del Sol expects another record year for tourism


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