Main business sectors in Malaga
If you’re inspired by the idea of doing business in Malaga, the next obvious question is where to do it. The city offers opportunities in several key areas, all currently experiencing a boom.
This article describes the principal business sectors in Malaga and the specific openings within each of them.
As the capital of the Costa del Sol, tourism in Malaga offers one of the largest markets for investment. It’s also a growing one with the city registering record numbers of visitors and hotel occupancy in 2023, with figures ahead of the pre-pandemic ones. Both Spanish and international tourists have increased, particularly in the traditionally ‘off-season’ months of November, January and February.
Opportunities for business found in tourism
Several new hotels have appeared on the scene in Malaga over the last two years (e.g. Vincci Larios and H10 Croma) and others have carried out major refurbishment (such as the NH Malaga). Some 2,000 extra beds have been added.
As the graph below shows, Malaga hotels have had at least 50% occupancy since the beginning of 2022. In summer 2023, Malaga registered one of the highest occupancy rates in Spain, with hotels at over 75% capacity.
In September 2023, the city had 144 hotels, with 13,649 beds. Over 20 new hotels are set to join them between 2023 and 2027 and add more than 1,900 beds.
The Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) section is another important growth area in Malaga.
The first half of 2023 was a record for MICE events in Malaga, with 106 events, attended by over 200,000 people. The economic impact reached €114 million, well ahead of 2022 figures.
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Another of the key business sectors in Malaga, technology, I+D and telecommunications companies have two focal points in the city: in the Andalusian Technological Park (Parque Tecnológico de Andalucía/PTA) and the Digital Centre (Polo Digital). Opportunities for business and investment exist in both. The Blockchain and Fintech sectors have emerged in the city and look set to become major players.
Malaga TechPark is a benchmark for technology with Andalusia. Since its creation it has attracted the world’s leading companies – Oracle, Accenture, Microsoft, Cisco and Huawei are just some examples.
Over 630 companies are based there and between them, they employ over 20,000 people (20.06% of the city’s workforce). Although information technology accounts for over a third of activity at the PTA, there are also companies in other sectors such as pharmaceutical, services and telecommunications.
The Polo Digital, based in the Tabacalera to the west of the city centre, specialises in digital content. VR, mapping and videogames are main focal points and the Centre houses a number of start-ups. Training is also important and the Centre runs several courses.
Building was one of the business sectors in Malaga that suffered most in the crisis. However, the rebirth of demand for construction since 2017 has seen a consolidation of the industry that currently employs 100,000 in the province.
Residential property in Malaga
High demand from both international investors and local residents has led to a rise in new-build construction in the city. Current focal points include Teatinos, Eastern Malaga and the western seafront. Luxury residential property such as Malaga Towers with multi-million euro units has appeared on the market.
Office property in Malaga
The high demand for offices in Malaga gives an indication of the interest in investment in the city. According to figures by Savills Aguirre Newman, office occupancy in Malaga exceeds 90% and they calculate that there’s a shortage of over 50,000 square metres. To meet some of this demand, several coworking spaces have appeared.
Retail property in Malaga
There are 14 shopping centres in Malaga city with a total retail space of over 423,000 square metres. Demand for retail premises is high in the city and those in Calle Larios command the most expensive rents.
Rates returned to record levels in 2023 and although competition from e-commerce is strong, retail space continues to be at a premium in Malaga. The city ranks among the most attractive cities to establish a retail business in Europe, according to Savills.
Transport & Logistics
The city’s excellent connectivity and strategic location make transport and logistics one of the most important business sectors in Malaga. This area has several key players:
Malaga Airport is the third busiest in mainland Spain, second only to Madrid and Barcelona. Between January and September 2023 it handled over 17.2 million passengers, 21.3% more than the same period in 2022.
One of the largest transport hubs in southern Spain, the Port acts as a key gateway to the Mediterranean and North Africa. It has seen a large increase in container transportation over the last few years.
On the tourism side, the Port receives over 650,000 cruise ship passengers on 1,400 boats every year. In 2023, Malaga Port opened a mega-yacht harbour, regularly visited by some of the world’s swankiest ships.
Malaga has over 300,000 square metres dedicated to logistics and over 1 million earmarked for further development. According to Savills, there’s a strong imbalace between supply and demand, with a shortage of available logistics space.
Like the sound of Malaga for business?
If this article has whetted your appetite for Malaga and you’d like more information, contact our team. We’ll be only too happy to put you in touch with the right people.