Malta hotels and vacations expected to rise again in 2007

Hotel and holiday bookings are down on the Mediterranean island of Malta, but the hope is that 2007 will breathe new life into its hotel and holiday industry.

Malta’s hotel and holiday industry is a major player in the island’s economy and with unemployment already high, a further drop in visitor numbers next year could have a negative impact not only on tourism, but also in Malta in general.

Throughout the year, monthly statistics on the number of tourists visiting Malta have been dismal for Maltese hotels, and the next twelve months will be critical in determining whether the island can remain in the mainstream of holiday destinations or be relegated to a travel niche. condition.

The island was plagued by rumors earlier in the year that a UK tour operator was going to withdraw the island from its 2007 brochures, and a survey of the island’s largest market showed that Malta would be more expensive for British tourists. than the Canary and Balearic Islands. for equivalent vacations next year.

But the latest news has brought hope to the Maltese holiday market that 2007 will see a halt to the decline in visitor numbers seen this year, with MyTravel surprising the Maltese holiday market by announcing an increase in visitor numbers. of winter which will be taking from the UK to Malta.

But the most positive news has come from the low-cost airline RyanAir, which has started cheap flights to Malta from London and Dublin.

Between the announcement of the Dublin and London routes and the inaugural flight to Malta, Ryanair sold 30,000 tickets. And the new competition has prompted Air Malta, the island’s national carrier, to make its own offerings. A successful campaign saw the sale of two tickets per minute recently.

‘This is all good news,’ says Malta’s hotel and holiday guide YourMalta, ‘At the beginning of the year, it seemed that Malta’s visitor figures were going into the future in only one way, and that was in a continual downward spiral. ‘

At one stage earlier in the year there were real doubts as to whether the Maltese Government would approve the new low-cost flights. Air Malta is a major employer and some in the tourism sector felt that an overly protectionist attitude was being taken at the expense of a possible uptick in new visitors.

‘Unfortunately’, continues YourMalta, ‘the Malta Tourism Authority and the Maltese government seem to make life as difficult as possible for the island’s hotel owners and those involved in the holiday industry. A private company like Ryanair will accomplish more and bring more money to the island than the Tourism Authority could ever dream of. And Ryanair will likely make a profit while the Tourism Authority uses taxpayers’ money. We are just waiting for the first set of figures where tourism has increased and for the Malta Tourism Authority to claim some or all of the credit. In reality, if the tourist figures go up, it is in spite of the Tourism Authority, and not thanks to it’.

Holidays in Malta

On a recent visit to Malta, Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said he was pleased with his new route to Luton and predicted that his route to Dublin, due to start operating in February, would be even more successful. He believes that Ryanair could bring some 85,000 visitors to the island in 2007.

“If Ryanair brings 85,000 visitors to Malta in 2007, it will stop the perpetual decline in total tourist numbers,” says YourMalta. “It depends, of course, on whether a large number will be first-time visitors or just those who would have visited Malta anyway.” We believe that a good part of the 85,000 are most likely to be new visitors who had not previously considered a holiday in Malta. With Air Malta fighting back and having successful promotions, there is every reason to be confident that 2007 will be a good year for Maltese tourism. Let’s hope it turns out to be a turning point and not a delay in the downward spiral of recent years.’

The property industry in Malta also produces a large amount of inward investment for the Maltese economy, and increased visitor numbers are often correlated with an increase in property prices in Malta.

According to Tribune Properties, a UK-based company that specializes in property sales in Malta, property inflation could be in the double digits next year.

‘Buyers of Maltese property from abroad start out as tourists, and with new tourists arriving next year in greater numbers, we expect this to have some impact on the broader market. The weather in Malta is always a plus when potential buyers are considering where to buy a holiday home. But ease of access is a critical factor, and with the new low-priced flights it makes spending some long weekends in Malta, as well as traditional week-long and fortnightly holidays, a realistic possibility for more people.”

YourMalta travel guide offers a note of caution, urging the Maltese authorities to invest in better roads and other infrastructure.

“It’s important that tourists want to come back to the island for years to come, and not just visit once, never look at a holiday brochure and map of Malta with fond memories and come back.” Malta’s hotels are on par with the rest of Europe, but if you walk out onto dangerous sidewalks, dirty beaches and a timeshare on every corner ready with a high-pressure sales pitch, you won’t be back. We hope that the Malta Tourism Authority will do all it can to ensure an enjoyable holiday in Malta.”

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