It’s been a terrible year for the tourist industry across the world, and hotels have been especially hard hit as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down international travel.
Malta’s hotels were not exceptions to this rule. In the whole of 2020, the total number of nights spent at the country’s hotels was down by 70.3 per cent on the year before.
As summer draws closer and Malta is set to open its borders to tourists once more, the country’s hotels prepare to recapture the initiative, and hopefully earn themselves a lifeline. It is, naturally, an important time for them, and it is essential that they can attract as many tourists as possible.
One way they might be expected to do so is by lowering their prices. They can only do so up to an extent before they start losing money though.
Of Malta’s hotel offerings, its 15 five-star hotels are the cream of the crop. With their high quality usually comes a high price, however.
To find out how much visitors might expect to spend for a luxury hotel stay, BusinessNow.mt compiled price data for eight of the most prominent of these, namely the Grand Hotel Excelsior, Xara Palace, Radisson Blu Golden Sands, Westin Dragonara, Hotel Phoenicia, Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz, Corinthia Palace, and Hilton Malta.
Using the cheapest available room sleeping two at each establishment as a benchmark, and not counting any special offers or membership benefits, the average nightly rates for bed and breakfast at three points in time – the final weekends of June, July and August – were compiled.
The survey found that on average, at one of the five-star hotels data was compiled for, guests can expect to pay around €232.70 per night per room.
June, perhaps predictably, will be the cheapest month to stay at a hotel. Staying at a five-star hotel for the final Friday and Saturday nights of this month will cost customers an average of €428, with this figure standing around €480 in July and August.
According to the data, the Grand Hotel Excelsior is easily the cheapest during these periods, coming in at €135 per night across all weekends considered, though cheaper options were available without breakfast.
The Hilton Malta was the most expensive, on average costing just over €310 per night, although customers not concerned about breakfast can find rooms, including “King Deluxe Rooms”, with views of the marina, for significantly below this average.
The full price data was as follows:
An additional factor to consider, however, are the various tourism measures announced by the Government to stimulate tourism when Malta reopens.
One notable component of this scheme is the Free Independent Traveler scheme, which will see tourists awarded discounts when they stay at hotels. Those staying at participating five-star establishments will be eligible for discounts of €200 under the scheme.
Whether Malta will be able to attract tourists this summer has been a key topic of discussion in recent weeks.
One key area of contention is whether tourists will be put off visiting Malta due to the country’s strict mask mandate, which as things stand would require visitors to wear masks at the beach, even when sunbathing.
Some of Malta’s leading tourism figures have, however, dismissed this, saying the mask mandate is “not a deal-breaker”.
It is not just the hotels industry that risks collapsing if tourism numbers do not take off this summer, however. In the wider hospitality industry, bars and restaurant have warned that without at least a soft summer they will not survive.
Malta’s vaccination programme, which continues to lead many of its European peers, suggests an optimistic outlook for the country.
Indeed, reports coming out of Britain, which has been identified as one of Malta’s key target markets for tourism, suggest that Malta will be one of only two EU countries which Brits will be permitted to travel to when the UK allows its citizens to holiday, from May 17th (the other is expected to be Gibraltar).
Westin Dragonara Hotel
The airline also plans to introduce daily flights between Rome Fiumicino and Malta by June
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Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri notes that education and awareness are the best tools to combat such threats