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Málaga positions itself as the leading destination in Spain for language tourism

Published on Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The climate, the quality of teaching, the wide range of cultural offerings and tremendous value for money, all help to make Málaga the ideal destination for studying Spanish.


The number of people studying Spanish in the world increases day by day. Today it is the second mother tongue language in the world with a total of 472 million native-speakers: in other words, 8% of the world’s population speak Spanish as their native language.  Spain is the main destination in the world for studying Spanish followed by other countries such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.


According to a survey in 2016 by FEDELE (The Spanish Federation of Associations of Schools of Spanish for Foreigners), based on its 89 member schools, Spain receives almost 100,000 students per year. However, according to the Instituto Cervantes, the reality is that Spain today has 153 Spanish Language teaching centres which implies that the previous figure could be doubled. According to the study, 64% of the students are female and 36% are male. The ages tend to range from 12-45 years (mainly 12-25) but it should not be forgotten that there is a constant and stable number of language tourism students aged between 46 and 65 years.  74% choose a general language and culture course and stay for an average of 2 ½ weeks.


According to the Instituto Cervantes, Andalucía receives more than 50.000 students of Spanish per year. A sector-wide survey conducted by AEEA (Association of Schools of Spanish in Andalucía), covering the period 2010-2016, shows that Andalucía is the leading region in Spain with 49 schools, or 31.50%; in other words, 1 in 3 accredited Spanish teaching centres in Spain are found in Andalucía.   Málaga is the leading language tourism destination in Spain with 23 centres in the capital and province - almost half of all the centres in Andalucía and 15% of the total in Spain.


According to AEEA, Málaga is the province in Andalucía with most students (13,000) followed by Sevilla and Granada (6000 students).


Spanish in Málaga


Málaga is the pioneer in the teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language. In 1947 Málaga was the first city in Spain to provide Spanish Language courses specifically for foreigners. Today, Málaga city and its province have 23 teaching centres accredited by the Instituto Cervantes.


Supporting the Language tourism sector is a key issue in the economy of a city like Málaga which receives more than 13,000 Spanish Language students each year from countries such as Germany, the UK and Italy, not to forget, the Netherlands, France, Russia and the US.  The average stay is 3 weeks and the average spend in the region of € 2,500, meaning that language tourism generates more than € 32 million. This results in around 1500 jobs related to Language tourism in Málaga. 


In today’s world where communication is dominated by the Internet, Spanish is the 3rd Language most used in search engines, the 2nd in social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter and the 2nd most important in Wikipedia by number of visits. 


The students especially appreciate the teaching method, the quality of the teaching materials and teachers, as well as the climate, range of cultural activities, value for money and the life-style.


Malaga Education Week


It follows from all of this, that NACEM, (the Association of Spanish Language Schools in Málaga) is more than justified in setting up Malaga Education Week. The Association is made up of 14 Schools of Spanish and has the support of AEEA and FEDELE. This initiative would not have been possible without the support of the Tourism Department of the Townhall of Málaga and the Tourist Board of the Costa del Sol. The following organisations have also given their support: Turespaña, Turismo Andaluz, ICEF, SIELE, GuardMe, SRM, EXTENDA, Instituto Cervantes, Universidad de Málaga, ICEX, Cámara de Comercio, Museo Picasso, CEM y Festival de Cine de Málaga.


Malaga Education Week will take place from 9 to 14 January. This innovative initiative will focus the attention of the Language Tourism and Study Abroad sector on Malaga. The event is aimed at teachers of Spanish, academics, representatives of institutions, international educators, agents and educational consultants.  It is made up of 3 events of major importance which will attract the interest of the press at an international level as it will bring together over a series of days all the latest news, trends and key players in this sector from around the world.

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