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Holiday, Vacation & Tour

 

2007 Critical For Malta Holidays Future

Visitor numbers have been in decline on the Mediterranean island of Malta, but the hope is that 2007 will see new life breathed into her hotel and holidays industry.

The Malta hotels and holiday industry are major players in the island's economy, and with unemployment already high, a further drop in the number of visitors next year could have a negative impact not just in tourism but for Malta as a whole.

Throughout the year the monthly statistics for the number of tour...

Hotels, holidays, flights, Malta, property, map, weather

Visitor numbers have been in decline on the Mediterranean island of Malta, but the hope is that 2007 will see new life breathed into her hotel and holidays industry.

The Malta hotels and holiday industry are major players in the island's economy, and with unemployment already high, a further drop in the number of visitors next year could have a negative impact not just in tourism but for Malta as a whole.

Throughout the year the monthly statistics for the number of tourists visiting Malta have made depressing reading for the Malta hotels, and the next twelve months will be pivotal as to whether the island can stay in the mainstream of holiday destinations, or be relegated to niche travel status.

The island was rife with rumours earlier in the year that a UK tour operator was going to withdraw the island from their 2007 brochures, and a survey in the island's biggest market showed that Malta would be more expensive for British tourists than the Canary and Balearic Islands for equivalent holidays next year.

But more recent news has brought hope to the Malta holidays market that 2007 will see an arrest in the decline of visitor numbers seen this year, with MyTravel surprising the holidays in Malta market by announcing an increase in the number of winter visitors it will be taking from the UK to Malta.

But the most positive news has come from low cost carrier RyanAir, who have started flights to Malta from London and Dublin.

Between announcing the Dublin and London routes and the maiden flight to Malta, Ryanair sold 30,000 tickets. And the new competition has spurred Air Malta, the island's national airline, to make offers of its own. A successful campaign saw two tickets a minute being sold recently.

'This is all good news,' say Malta hotels and holidays guide http://www.yourmalta.com, 'Earlier in the year it looked like there was only one way that the visitor figures for Malta were going for the future, and that was in a continuing downward spiral.'

At one stage earlier in the year there were real doubts cast upon whether the Malta Government would approve the new low cost flights at all. Air Malta is a major employer and some in the tourist sector felt that too much of a protectionist attitude was being taken at the expense of a possible upswing in new visitors.

'Unfortunately,' continue YourMalta, 'The Malta Tourist Authority and The Malta government seem to to make life as difficult as possible for the island's hotel owners and those involved in the holiday industry. A privately run company like Ryanair will achieve more and bring more money on to the island than the Tourist Authority can ever dream of. And Ryanair will probably make a profit out of it while the Tourist Authority is using taxpayers money. We're just waiting for the first set of figures where tourism has risen, and for the Malta Tourist Authority to claim part or all of the credit. In reality if tourist figures do rise it's despite the Tourist Authority, and not because of it'.

Travel To Malta

Speaking on a visit to Malta recently, Ryanair's Chief Executive Michael O'Leary declared himself pleased with their new Luton route, and predicted that their Dublin route, due to start operating in February, would be even more successful. He believes that Ryanair could take some 85,000 visitors to the island in 2007.

'If Ryanair do deliver 85,000 visitors to Malta in 2007 it will stop the perpetual decline in overall tourist numbers,' say YourMalta, 'It depends of course on whether a large number will be new visitors or simply those who would have visited Malta anyway. We believe the likelihood is that a good deal of the 85,000 will be new visitors who hadn't considered a Malta holiday before. With Air Malta fighting back and having successful promotions too there is every reason to feel confident that 2007 will prove to be a good year for Malta tourism. Hopefully it will prove to be a turning point and not a delay in the downward spiral of the last few years'.

The real estate industry in Malta also produces a good deal of inward investment for the Malta economy, and increased visitor numbers often correlate to an increase in Malta property prices.

According to Tribune Properties, a UK based company who specialise in Malta properties for sale, property inflation could be in double digits next year.

'Malta property buyers from overseas start as tourists, and with new tourists arriving next year in increased numbers we do expect this to have some impact on the market overall. The Malta weather is always a plus point when potential buyers are considering where to buy a holiday home. But ease of access is a critical factor, and with the new flights at reduced prices it makes spending a few long weekends on Malta as well as the traditional week and fortnight holiday a realistic possibility for more people.'

Travel guide YourMalta do offer a cautionary note, urging the Malta authorities to invest in better roads and other infrastructure.

'It's important that holidaymakers want to return to the island in future years, and not just visit once - never to look at a holiday brochure and a map of Malta with good memories and return. The Malta hotels are on a par with the rest of Europe, but if they step outside to dangerous pavements, unclean beaches and a timeshare tout around every corner ready with a high pressure sales pitch they won't return. Hopefully the Malta Tourist Authority will be doing as much as they can ensure a pleasant Malta holiday experience'.

 

2007 Malta Air Show Scheduled For Autumn

The skies of Malta will welcome the Malta Air Show 2007 later this year, with display teams from across Europe, the US and possibly Canada participating.

The air show traditionally comes late in the Malta holidays season, and is a welcome late boost for the island's tourist industry with aviation enthusiasts descending for the weekend.

Despite some complaints from residents about noise and safety levels, the air show does produce publicity and income for the holiday and...

Malta, Malta holidays, hotels in Malta, flights to Malta, Malta map, Malta weather

The skies of Malta will welcome the Malta Air Show 2007 later this year, with display teams from across Europe, the US and possibly Canada participating.

The air show traditionally comes late in the Malta holidays season, and is a welcome late boost for the island's tourist industry with aviation enthusiasts descending for the weekend.

Despite some complaints from residents about noise and safety levels, the air show does produce publicity and income for the holiday and Malta hotels industry, which in previous years has been a welcome addition to the island's fortunes as visitor numbers have slipped away.

The 2006 event was a truly international one, as well as the Armed Forces of Malta participating, the French, Italian, Dutch Swiss and Spanish all had planes and crew in attendance, plus the British Royal Air Force and US Air Force.

Among the planes taking part were two Alpha jets from France, one of which performed an aerial display, six F-16's with two Dutch F-16's flying, and from the RAF two Harriers and two Tornados, with one of the Harriers undertaking an aerial demonstration.

Pick up points from around the island are available for spectators wishing to attend the show, and on previous occasions this has led to heavy traffic in and around the event, again making some local residents none too happy about the event.

While the organisers might have been able to justifiably claim in the past that the air show formed an important event in the calendar of tourist events drawing extra visitors to the Malta hotels, more conventional aircraft have reduced the value of this for 2007.

Malta Flight

After some years of a declining tourist market, Malta has been boosted by the arrival of low cost flights from London and Dublin, traditionally important markets for the island.

Before the new cheap Malta flight passengers started arriving in November from London Luton, and in February from Dublin, the depressed Malta holidays market was in danger of being relegated from a mainstream travel destination to niche status, but the Ryanair flights have helped to start a turnaround.

Estimates suggest that an extra 80,000 visitors could visit Malta in 2007, bringing a real boost to the hotels in Malta and the island's economy overall.

'When Malta is accessible,' comment local destination guide YourMalta.com, 'Then holidaymakers will come. It's not just the Malta weather, but the history and a friendly people that draws people.'

The increase in visitor numbers could see property price rises, with two international estate agents who deal with Malta properties predicting a ten per cent rise in property values for 2007.

As with most popular holiday destinations, a percentage of tourists decide to buy a property in an area they like, and Malta is no exception.

The advantage Malta has for UK and Irish visitors is that they drive on the same side of the road and English is spoken, and for non British Isles visitors Malta has well known language schools where they can learn English.

A 2 bedroom apartment in the popular Malta holiday resort of Qawra is currently on the market for LM 72,000, and a three bedroom two bathroom apartment in equally popular Mellieha for LM 138,000.

 

Malta Holidays - Rumours Hit Tourist Island

Visitor numbers to the Mediterranean island of Malta could fall dramatically as major tour operators consider pulling the island out of their holiday brochures.

Malta hotel owners and holiday related businesses are waiting anxiously to see if the rumours are true...

Malta, Malta hotels, Malta holidays, Malta flights, Malta weather, Malta property, Air Malta

Holidays in Malta could be off the list of destinations offered by major tour operators from next summer, according to press reports.

While nothing has been confirmed yet, it has been reported that at least one of the tour operators is seriously considering withdrawing Malta as one of their destinations, and the fear among Malta hotel owners and those in the holiday industry is that once one holiday company pulls the plug on the island, others will follow, relegating Malta from a mainstream holiday island offered by major travel agents to smaller specialist companies.

But First Choice Holidays, winner of the 'Holiday Company of the Year' travel award in 2002, 2003 and 2004 and one of the UK's best known holiday companies have told one independent Malta travel guide that despite being named in the Malta press as the company most likely to do so they have never said they were pulling out of the Malta holiday market, but did admit that the Malta market was 'increasingly difficult' to sale.

Malta has been struggling for some years to adapt to the modern traveller, but government figures released for March showed a year on year drop in tourists of nearly 10 per cent, and most worrying of all was that the number of tourists arriving from the UK, Malta's main market, fell by over 13 per cent, and visitors from Italy, a market the Tourist Office had been trying to cultivate also fell.

Holidays in Malta and the related tourist sector are a major source of employment in Malta, and with unemployment running at over 8 per cent any fall in tourists could spell long term damage to the island's economy.

Another sector of the economy that could suffer with the Malta holidays market is real estate.

Property in Malta has risen in price in recent years, and 2004 saw Malta achieving the highest increase among the EU countries, with speculators buying property in Malta in the hope that joining the EU would see Malta real estate increase in value in the short and medium term.

Tribune Properties, who specialise in Malta Real Estate, view the potential downgrading of holidays in Malta as a double edged sword.

Managing Director Michael Johnson says that many Malta property buyers do so after visiting the island on holiday, and liking it so much they want to move to the island full time, while others who normally stay in hotels in Malta want to buy a property they can buy for their own and family holidays in Malta, and see buying a property in Malta as an investment for the future that they can enjoy too.

With less people taking holidays in Malta, the number of potential buyers will fall too.

Silver Lining

While Malta hotels and the tourist industry in Malta wait anxiously for news, the withdrawal of major tour operators from the island might not be all bad news.

There has been some discontent on the island about the rising prices of property in Malta, and with less overseas buyers the possibility of prices falling and more islanders being able to get on the property ladder could be welcome news.

In addition to lower property prices, YourMalta feel that projections of a collapse in the island's holiday market if tour operators did withdraw could be exaggerated.

'While the loss of the tour operators bringing tourists to the island is significant, in time the island will be less reliant on their business as more and more people make independent travel plans through the internet, and book their flights and hotels in Malta independently of traditional holiday companies.

Malta tends to attract the older tourist, so it might take longer than somewhere like Ibiza for example which attracts a younger visitor who as a group are more internet friendly', states Managing Director Roger Munns, 'but in time when the internet is seen as the primary source of booking a holiday across the age range, Malta will stand as much chance as anywhere of attracting tourists.

There has been speculation for some time now that low cost airlines are going to start offering flights to Malta, and this will help the Malta hotels and holiday market as more people consider three and four day breaks instead of the traditional week or fortnight, boosting the overall number of visitors, especially if Air Malta and the low cost airlines bring the cost of Malta flights to levels seen for the Spanish islands.

With an ineffective promotions board there is plenty of hope still for the holiday market in Malta, despite and not because of the Malta Tourist Authority, who are failing to promote Malta in the UK in any meaningful way.'




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