Pre-Omicron tourism to Malta was recovering strongly

Data for November confirm that pre-Omicron, Malta’s tourism sector was recovering strongly. In November 2021 the number of visitors was back to being over two-thirds of its pre-pandemic record.

More impressively, the number of nights stayed had gone back to being nearly three-quarters of the record number achieved in November 2019. As a result, per capita spending was above its pre-pandemic high point.

In the first eleven months of last year, inbound tourists nearly reached 0.9 million, an increase of close to 40% over the same period in 2020, while total nights stayed was up by over 50%, surpassing 7.6 million nights.

Total tourism expenditure was estimated at over €815 million, a stunning increase of nearly 85% over 2020. In revenue terms, our tourism industry operated at 40% of the revenue it had pre-pandemic.

Up to November, in 2021 tourist expenditure per capita was the highest since 2015.

Up to November, in 2021 tourist expenditure per capita was the highest since 2015.

In the first eleven months visiting tourists spent on average €914 each. This was €100 higher than the pre-pandemiclevel in 2019, and only marginally lower than the highest ever per capita tourist expenditure which was observed in 2015.

While not the highest ever recorded spending per capita, when one drills down the figures, this is only because tourists spent much less on airfares than they used to pre-pandemic. For instance in 2019, tourists had paid 205, while last year they paid just €171. Back in 2015 airfares had average €242.

By contrast, average package expenditue in 2021 was €824, over €130 more than the pre-pandemic record.

Tourists in 2021 spent a record amount on accommodation – €341 per person, as against  €283 pre-pandemic. They also spent more on other expenditure.

This, together with the fact that the average length of stay was higher than usual, indicates that the quality of tourism in 2021 was better than in previous years.

This augurs well for the success of Government’s tourism recovery strategy which focuses less on tourist numbers and more on sustainable flows of higher-spending tourists.

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