Hotel and holiday bookings are down on the Mediterranean island of Malta, but the hope is that 2022 will see new life in 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 decline in visitor numbers next year could have a negative impact not only on tourism but on all of Malta.
Throughout the year the monthly statistics on the number of tourists visiting Malta have made depressing reading for Malta’s hotels, and the next twelve months will be crucial in whether the island can remain in the mainstream of holiday destinations or be relegated a niche state travel.
The island was rife with rumors earlier in the year that a UK tour operator was withdrawing the island from its 2022 brochures and a survey in the island’s largest market showed Malta would be more expensive to British tourists compared to the Canary and Balearic Islands for equivalent holidays next year.
But more recent news has brought hope to the Malta holiday market that 2022 will see a halt in the decline in visitor numbers seen this year, with MyTravel surprising the Malta holiday market by announcing an increase in winter visitor numbers which will be taken from the UK to Malta.
But the most positive news came from low-cost carrier RyanAir, which started low-cost flights to Malta from London and Dublin.
Between the announcement of the Dublin and London routes and the maiden flight to Malta, Ryanair sold 30,000 tickets. And the new competition has prompted Air Malta, the island’s flag carrier, to make offers of its own. A successful campaign recently saw two tickets sold per minute.
“This is all good news,” says YourMalta, a guide to hotels and holidays in Malta, “At the start of the year it seemed there was only one-way visitor figures for Malta were going for the future, and that was in a continuous downward spiral”. ‘There is also much property for sale on malta.
Earlier in the year, serious doubts were expressed about whether the Maltese government would approve the new low-cost flights. Air Malta is a major employer and some in the tourism industry felt it was being too protectionist at the expense of a possible increase in new visitors.
‘Unfortunately,’ continues YourMalta, ‘The Malta Tourism Authority and the Government of Malta appear to be making life as difficult as possible for the island’s hotel owners and those involved in the holiday industry. A private company like Ryanair will get more and bring more money to the island than the Tourist Board could ever dream of. And Ryanair is likely to 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 rise, it is despite the Tourist Board, and not because of this.
Holidays in Malta
Speaking recently during a visit to Malta, Ryanair’s Chief Executive, Michael O’Leary, was pleased with their new route to Luton and predicted that their Dublin route, which is due to start operating in February, would be even more successful. He believes Ryanair could bring around 85,000 visitors to the island in 2022.
“If Ryanair flies 85,000 visitors to Malta in 2022, it will halt the perpetual decline in overall tourist numbers,” says YourMalta, “It obviously depends on whether large numbers will be new visitors or simply those who would have visited Malta anyway. probability is that a good proportion of the 85,000 will be new visitors who had never considered a holiday to Malta before. With Air Malta reacting and also having successful promotions, there is every reason to be confident that 2007 will prove to be a good year for Maltese tourism. Hopefully, it will prove to be a turning point and not a delay in the downward spiral of recent years.’
The real estate sector in Malta also produces a good deal of inward investment for the Maltese economy and increases in visitor numbers often correlate with increased Malta properties prices.
Property inflation could be double-digit next year, according to Tribune Properties, a UK-based company specializing in property for sale in Malta.
‘Buyers of property in Malta from abroad start out as tourists, and with increasi ng numbers of new tourists arriving next year, we expect this to have some impact on the market at large. The weather in Malta is always a plus point when prospective buyers