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Malta Notches Up Record Year For 2007 Holidays

Feb 28, 2008
Malta tourist figures show that last year's important summer season proved to be the best in six years for Malta, reversing the decline in fortunes for the holiday island.

Further good news for Malta is that despite the increase in the number of tourists arriving on the island via low cost flights, the occupancy levels of hotels has increased from basic to 5 star, showing that Malta can appeal to all price ranges when tourists are considering a summer holiday.

While the number of arrivals from her traditional UK market rose by eleven per cent, the number of people from Germany visiting Malta increased by a third this year, adding strength to the holiday industry that has been reliant on tourism from one country in the past.

Both Germany and the UK have seen new low cost flight operators sucessfully applying to fly to Malta, and the increase in tourism can largely be put down to them.

2007 was a real turning year for Malta, with previously poor publicity turning to good press reports in overseas travel columns.

From the UK's Coronation Street filming episodes on the island, to official reports and independent journalists praising Malta as a safe place to visit, plus reduced fares from low cost airlines, the island saw a real boost in her tourism trade.

In a survey of 27 European countries by the World Health Organisation for example, comparing the rates of assault and murder, the UN body found that Malta was the second safest country, with Ireland the safest.

The new report comes in addition to one from a US based travel writer who last year placed Malta as one of the five safest travel destinations in the world, and another new report from the US just a few months ago confirmed Malta as one of the safest vacation spots in the world.

Commenting on Malta, the report praised the island for the non existence of organised crime, especially surprising perhaps given her proximity to mainland Italy - and closer still to notorious Sicily.

A surprise for many who have driven in Malta is that the report considers the island's roads to be safe. But this is backed up by official EU figures showing Malta has the lowest road related fatalities in the EU.

Much of the increase in visitor numbers for 2007 has come about since the Malta government reluctantly agreed to allow low cost airlines to fly from the UK and Ireland, traditionally Malta's strongest market for holidays. The decision to allow the low cost flights came after some time of delay by the Maltese authorities, and was too late to stop a further decline in 2006 of visitor numbers.

Malta's growing reputation as a safe island to visit goes down particularly well in the UK, Malta's strongest market for incoming holiday makers, as the UK has seen an increase in violent crime in her towns and cities.
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