Before the arrival of the first romantic European tourists at the end of the eighteenth century it was quite common to find foreigners in our region, however their numbers began to increase noticeably throughout the nineteenth century, largely due to increasing commercial activity, and as a consequence of those visitors valuing the excellent climate, beautiful geography, the warm welcoming of the locals and the gastronomic delights. During the early sixties of the last century, the government decided to promote tourism as a way to open the country to the exterior after years of isolation from the international community, and to attract foreign currency in order to achieve more competitive exchange rates.
As a result of these initiatives promoting tourism the sector begins to grow in certain geographical areas which later on will become protagonists in contributing to the huge economic activity experienced in this important sector. As incredible as it may seem, Spain, till this day, does not have a ministry which exclusively represents the tourism industry.
Marbella has been very successful in promoting itself as luxury destination in he Costa del Sol, in turn adding value to brand of Spain. After being promoted as a holiday destination in the middle of the last century, Marbella has grown from a little village over the last sixty years, as many people have decided to visit or live there. Today the city has a population of more than 200,000 inhabitants from all over the world.
The increase in availability of hotel rooms and holiday apartments has contributed to the growth of the residential tourism sector by converting many of these tourists into property owners. Their investments have promoted many economic activities such as the construction of urbanizations and residential areas, hotels, marinas, golf courses, tennis courts, organization of international shows and many other events of leisure related to a tourist destination. Marbella is highly ranked today, as one of the most popular destinations for residential tourism in the world.