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Published on : Tuesday, November 12, 2013
In August 2013, NSO statistics on tourism showed that inbound tourism increased by 9.3 per cent in August when compared to last year, reaching 218,799 arrivals. Excluding the 528 passengers who stayed overnight on board a berthed cruise vessel, 218,271 were departing tourists – an increase of nine per cent when compared to 2012 levels.
Total nights spent during August reached almost 2.2 million, the majority of which were spent in collective accommodation establishments.As soon as the results were issued, the Ministry of Tourism issued a media release stating that it was the first time ever that the number of departing tourists in any given month exceeded the 200,000 benchmark.
So did this mean that Labour had just taken all the credit?Tourism Minister Karmenu Vella said: “Tourism is an industry which reacts both to short-term and long-term stimuli; I believe that all sides of the political divide agree that tourism stands to benefit most from continuity and from a healthy debate.“Here in Malta we are generally fortunate in possessing a generally mature political debate about tourism, motivated primarily by a universal willingness to seeing it continue to thrive and prosper.
“So my answer to your question is that the record results we achieved in August owe their success to the work carried out by the previous administration as well as to the efforts and inputs of the new government. “This administration has continued to support tourism in all manners possible and has managed to create stronger synergies through an all encompassing ministry which brings together tourism, aviation, Air Malta and the Institute of Tourism Studies, besides the Parliamentary Secretariat for Culture.
So what are the government’s plans related to tourism in general for next year? What initiatives are being created to enhance tourism?Mr Vella said that the government’s primary objective is to continue to sustain tourism growth during all months of the year with special emphasis on the shoulder and winter months.
“We aim for value growth during the peak summer months and volume and value growth during the off-peak months. “We have already managed to secure an 8.7 per cent increase in airline seat capacity for the coming winter season while we are continuing to work hard to ensure that we have the necessary airline capacity for peak summer demand, particularly in markets where demand for current services is nearing saturation.