Malta: New Hotspot for North American Tourists

Valletta Cruise Port

The Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) has released statistics for inbound tourism for the first half of 2018 that suggest that Malta may be a new hotspot for North Americans in the Mediterranean. The archipelago recorded 20,956 tourists, a 28.2% increase from the U.S. market over the same January-June period last year, and 7,488 tourists, a 23.5% increase over the same period from Canada.

Why is Malta trending up in the North American Market? Michelle Buttigieg, MTA representative for North America, said in a prepared statement that it can be attributed to several factors. “An important part of Malta’s appeal to the North American traveler is that English is an official language. It is a safe, peaceful and stable EU democracy, with better vacation value than in other more expensive European countries.”

Another compelling factor for the increase this year is due to the heavy promotion of the year-round calendar of festivals and cultural events celebrating the fact that Malta’s Capital, Valletta, was named a European Capital of Culture 2018.  

The Valletta 2018 festivities encompass a yearlong celebration of the culture and history of the island nation, from the Malta International Food Festival to the Isle of MTV Malta to the Valletta Film Festival and more.

Buttigieg further stated: “The increase is also due to the MTA’s continued promotional campaigns targeting niche markets that reflect the diversity of Malta and Gozo’s tourism product.”

Malta’s cruise tourism is also experiencing growth from the North American market, with a total of 93,482 passengers in 2017, according to the MTA. This was an increase over the previous year of 24 percent for the American market and a 30 percent increase for the Canadian market. The North American market represented almost 14 percent of the total cruise passengers to Malta, which in 2017 was 670,000 (an increase of 7 percent).

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