4 SEPTEMBER 2002
Commenting on the National Statistics Office News release on tourist arrival results for May, Tourism Minister Dr Michael Refalo said that these were very close to the Malta Tourism Authority forecasts.
"As expected the Italian and French markets have made a full recovery from the 11 September impact. UK visitor volume for May, although less than last years all time record, was higher than in 1999 and cumulatively better than in 2000 when the TOSS subsidy scheme was still in operation. Despite the negative conditions prevailing during the first five months of the year UK volume has held up.
With the Dutch and Belgian markets performing on a par with 2001, Germany is the only core market to register a poor performance. However, in this market losses for May were controlled. The last four months of the year should see more German visitors to Malta, I do not expect that the German outgoing market to all destinations will register growth before late 2003."
Minister Refalo said that MTA was already in possession of firm indications for the months of June and July and confirmed earlier predictions that Malta would enjoy a good summer season.
"With seven of the twelve months gone and given no extraordinary problems till the end of the year, I am confident that the Malta Tourism Authority will achieve and even possibly surpass its volume target of 1.1 million."
According to the figures released on Monday by the NSO, over May this year, the number of tourist arrivals dropped by 8.3 per cent, or 9,587, to 106,060 from the 115,647 in the same month last year.
Arrivals from the British market declined by 8,749 to 38,813 from 47,562 last year. Other drops in arrivals were recorded from, amongst others, the German, the Swedish and the Dutch markets.
Tourism from the Austrian market, meanwhile, was up by 944 to 4,502, while an increase was also registered from the Russian market.
Meanwhile, over the first five months this year, tourist arrivals were down by 8.7 per cent, or 35,436, to 373,063 from 408,499 last year.
Tourism from the British market was down by 14,346 to 142,609. Other drops in arrivals were recorded from, amongst others, the German, the Libyan, the Austrian and the Swedish markets.
In the period under review, increases in arrivals were recorded from, amongst others, the Italian and the Russian markets.
Cruise passengers, however, had dropped in May, with the number of arrivals from the budding segment cruise passengers dropped by 9,382 to 40,770. In the first five months of the year, the number of cruise passengers declined by 4,107 to 73,084 from 77,191 in the same period last year.
In the five-month period to May this year, tourists spent over 3.3 million days in the country, an average of 8.94 days per tourist. In the same period last year, tourists spent over 3.6 million days in Malta with an average of 8.92 days per tourist.