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Published on : Saturday, November 23, 2013
“This year was a challenging year for Malta related to the cruise liner industry due to the fast decision taken by a number of cruise liner companies to reduce their calls to Malta,” Tourism Minister Karmenu Vella said.
Speaking during a news conference on board the impressive luxury cruise liner Costa Favolosa today, berthed in front of the Valletta Waterfront, the harbour literally dwarfed by the ship which is set to grace the Valletta Grand Harbour once again in 2014, Mr Vella pointed out that the cruise liner industry is important for Malta since a great number of tourists arrive to Malta by ship.
Apart from the Costa Favolosa, a fleet of Costa Cruises ships are to operate to and from Malta during next year as well.
He said that tourists hailing from EU Member States are the main source of Malta’s cruise liner market – German, Italian and British tourists – accounting for 76% of the number of tourists which arrive by ship.
The rest mainly hail from the US where 4,000 American tourists were reported to have arrived to Malta this year. He said that the passengers arriving to Malta are aged between 40 and 70 years old.
He pointed out that this year witnessed 44 less port calls over last year. A total 194 cruise liners arrived this year.
“The number of cruise liner passengers also decreased by 120,000 passengers,” he said. Last year saw a staggering 600,000 passengers arrive compared to this year’s 480,000.
Mr Vella also highlighted that Costa Cruises plan to conduct 73 calls next year, seven more calls than last year’s 66.
Meanwhile, a Costa Cruises representative, Dario Rustico, pointed out that the Italian company has 15 Costa Cruise ships in service and one on order. The company aims to own a total 30 ships by end 2016, including its other cruise liner brands.
The captain of the ship said that it is always a pleasure for him to host Maltese passengers. He described Maltese passengers as “fantastic people” and said he hoped to see more of Maltese people on board Costa Favolosa next year.
Being a 114,500 tonne ship with a passenger capacity of 3,700 persons, the Costa Favolosa is expected to contribute strongly to the income generated from the toruism industry.
Government statistics show that cruise liner passengers spend an average 60 euros each, meaning a direct contribution to Malta’s economy of 3.7 million euros, plus expenditure made by the crew and purchases made for services and supplies for the cruise ship itself.
The cruise ship offers state-of-the-art technology and luxury furnishings and finishings. The vessel has 1,508 cabins, 13 bars, four polls, a 6,000 square-metre spa, sports court, casino and much more.
Costa Cruises is locally represented by Orange Travel Group.
Source:- Malta Tourism Authority