20 September 2006

The Web
Business Today

Language tourists could save the day for 3 star hotels

James Debono

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association is proposing turning 3 star hotels into youth hostels catering for students learning English in Malta.
Three star hotels have suffered the full brunt of the decline in tourist arrivals during the past year, experiencing a 20 per cent drop in occupancy.
MHRA chief executive George Schembri told Business Today that the idea is being discussed with the government.
“At current rates of occupancy, 3 star hotels will not remain sustainable in Winter,” Schembri warned.
But the language student niche could save the day for this declining sector.
Language tourism is a growing tourist niche by the MHRA.
“Language schools are already tapping markets like South American and the growth of this sector must be encouraged.”
During the past summer a number of students were hosted alongside other guests in hotels. But according to Schembri this had created problems between the carefree students and normal hotel guests.
If transformed in to youth hostels, three star hotels will be able to take in a greater amount of guests while using the same space.


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