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Cruise Ships Boost 2008 Malta Holiday Ambitions

Dec 31, 2007
Welcome figures have come from Malta's cruise industry, with a record year of cruise ship passenger arrivals in 2007.

What makes the figures particularly impressive for the holiday island is that this year's record comes after a record year in 2006, while the number of tourists arriving by air had started from a low 2006 base, making air arrivals an easier target to reach last year.

Just three years ago in 2004 Malta attracted 270,000 passengers from cruises, and took that over 300,000 for 2005. Last year the island did even better to produce a record year and this year will produce an estimated 425,000 arrivals.

A new feature for cruise passengers visiting Malta is an open top bus which will take them to places of interest on the island, including the historic capital Valletta and the Grand Harbour area, to showcase what Malta has to offer.

Commenting on the new facilities and impressive tourist numbers, a travel guide for Malta welcomes both, stating that cruise passengers might decide to visit Malta in the future as a solo holiday rather than as part of a multi destination trip if cruise passengers like what they see, and with increased cruise passenger numbers Malta has the opportunity to increase the number of holidays being taken annually on the Mediterranean island.

The combination of increased tourist numbers comes at a time when the number of passenegrs arriving by air has also seen quite an increase, and the two methods of arrival for Malta helped transform the hotel and holidays industry fortunes for 2007 with 2008 Malta holidays looking good for another increase.

The number of tourists choosing Malta rose by seven per cent in the first quarter of 2007 compared to 2006, and gives vindication to the Maltese hotels and holidays lobby who had urged the government to allow low cost airlines to fly to the holiday island.

The first three months of the year are traditionally the quietest for the Malta holidays industry, and is thought to reflect the year as a whole, with perhaps even a close to ten per cent increase in tourism overall for 2007 compared to 2006.

The surprise among the statistics is where the tourists have come from. Many people in the Malta holidays industry expected a big increase in visitors from the UK, but visitor numbers have remained static, as they have from Germany and France. The increase in visitors came from Russia, Sweden, Belgium and Italy. Good news comes not only from the increase in tourist numbers, but also from the amount tourists spend while on the island - some ten per cent higher than 2006, with cruise passengers spending more per person too while visiting Malta.

Another airline called Click Air has also joined the race for the flight to Malta market recently, putting pressure on the low cost airlines already operating to Malta to further reduce their prices to stay ahead of their competition, - all good news for consumers who have a choice of flying or taking a cruise which includes Malta as a port of call.

Regular travellers to Malta have never had it so good. Not only has their choice of airline and airports serving Malta widened considerably, but the perennial favourite of many business and holiday travellers, Air Malta, has fought back against the new low cost airlines with reduced fares and offers of their own and the number of cruise ships visiting Malta could follow a similar pattern in 2008.
About the Author
For Malta information visit YourMalta.com at http://www.yourmalta.com

Included at YourMalta is a Malta photo gallery, Malta hotels and early booking deals for summer 2008 holidays with Expedia
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