Over two million reasons to celebrate

Over two million reasons to celebrate

The Malta Tourism Authority announced results for 2017

According to statistics issued by the National Statistics Office,  inbound tourist trips from January to December 2017 reached almost 2.3 million (+15.7%) while total nights spent surpassed 16.5 million nights (+10.3%). In December 2017, increases were registered in total inbound visitors (+14.7%), total nights spent (+17.3 %) and total tourism expenditure (+24.3 %).

The largest share of guest nights (57%) was spent in collective accommodation establishments. Total tourism expenditure for the period January-December 2017 surpassed €1.9 billion (+13.9 %).

The Malta Tourism Authority would like to point out whilst most destinations which go through the fluctuations of good years and bad years, this is not so in the case of Malta.  What was commemorated today was yet another year of success.  For 2017 is not merely a stand-alone year of tourism growth but the culmination of consecutive years of record growth for tourism to Malta, Gozo and Comino which have seen tourism rise from less than 1.2 million in 2009 to around 2.3 million last year.

This type of performance is unprecedented in a number of ways. It has seen previously static performances climb to new highs year after year and it has also seen Malta over-perform global, European and Mediterranean average growth rates year after year.  Formerly a destination which, at best, hoped to emulate the success of its competitors, Malta has now changed into one which outperforms average results and grows at rates higher than most of its competitors.

Maltese tourism is growing in several ways.  Apart from volume increases in the number of tourists, the number of overnight stays generated by tourists are also growing, reaching around 16 million nights last year.  Hotel occupancies are at an all-time high whilst alternative forms of tourism accommodation attract guests particularly at times of peak hotel demand. 

Tourism increases are taking place during all twelve months of the year, and the good news is that, during 2017, the low-season months of November to March grew by 25.1% while the peak months April to October increased by 14.1% .  This is enabling destination Malta to reduce the problems associated with seasonality by spreading tourism more equitably throughout the year thus ensuring better utilisation of resources.

Tourists visiting Malta are also getting younger with above average growth being recorded in the 25-44 age bracket during 2017 in comparison to 2016.  This reflects MTA’s ongoing efforts aimed at making Malta more attractive to younger age groups by repositioning it as a more active, vibrant destination for all ages.

Tourism spend, which is the ultimate benchmark, is also on the rise with totals of around 2 billion euros in 2017. Tourists’ discretionary expenditure during their stay is on the increase and this is reflected in the growth recorded in tourist expenditure per night. Such expenditure contributes strongly to Maltese economic growth, higher GDP per capita ratios, increased Government revenue and ultimately more disposable incoming reaching increased numbers of Maltese households.  Tourism expenditure not only stimulates higher consumer expenditure to the benefit of the economy, but also stimulates tourism industry investment for better quality and service.

Our 2017 success is not attributable to extraordinary growth from some single market, but to sustained growth from the widest possible range of markets.  The Western European markets with strongest growth are Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands while impressive growth was also forthcoming from the European markets to our east, namely Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Greece and Romania. A truly impressive spread of volume growth, which is further compounded by growth from more distant markets such as the USA and Australia.

During the press event hosted by the Malta Tourism Authority, the Minister for Tourism, Konrad Mizzi, held that Malta’s success in sustaining such a positive tourism performance was strongly attributable to the strong expansion in its air connectivity.  During 2017, no fewer than 8 new airline routes from 7 countries commenced operations thus adding to the already extensive network linking Malta with its source markets. 

The Minister said that indications for 2018 are positive and point to continued successes on the basis of factors including the introduction of new major events, increase in direct routes to Malta, and increased seat capacity.

Whilst the MTA celebrates the fact that the Maltese Islands have reached and surpassed the two million visitor milestone, we look forward to the future with optimism.