Cruise passenger traffic has continued to rebound strongly following the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of passengers docking at Malta for the period between July and September increasing by 55.8 per cent over the same period of last year.
The total number of cruise passengers coming to Malta reached 348,268 during the third quarter of 2023, arriving on 108 cruise liner calls – an increase of 11 when compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year, according to new data released by the National Statistics Office.
Transit passengers account for the absolute majority of total traffic, reaching 291,216 (83.6 per cent).
On average, every vessel that berthed in Malta carried 3,225 passengers, 921 more than the previous year.
Passengers from EU Member States comprised 59.6 per cent of total traffic. The major markets were Italy, accounting for 25.3 per cent of the total passengers, followed by Germany, with 11.7 per cent.
The total number of passengers from non-EU countries stood at 140,544, of whom 40.7 per cent came from the United Kingdom and 28.9 per cent came from the United States.
On a gender basis, female passengers made up 52.9 per cent of the total. The largest share of passengers fell within the 40-59 age bracket (36.9 per cent) and were followed by those aged between 0 and 19 years (21.7 per cent).
Looking at the first three quarters of the year, total cruise passengers stood at 645,567. Of these, 58.0 per cent came from EU Member States.
Non-EU markets registered a strong uptick in interest. Passengers from the US doubled, while those from Canada tripled. The UK retained its strong position, with the 119,000 visitors from the former EU member state placing it second, after Italy.
The majority of the passengers were females amounting to 344,250 or 53.3 per cent of the total.
Most passengers were between 40 and 59 years old, totalling 229,065 (35.5 per cent). These were followed by passengers aged 60-79 years, reaching 164,686 (25.5 per cent).
There were 227 cruise liner calls during the first three quarters of 2023, with an average of 2,844 passengers per vessel, compared to 222 calls and an average of 1,739 passengers per vessel in the comparative period of 2022.
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Seat Load Factor also stood strong during the period, with an increase of 6.8% when compared to 2019