Plane interior - tourism

Tourism to Malta declined by the third highest in the EU during 2020, according to a report by the European statistics arm Eurostat on Monday.

Tourism in the country declined by just over 70 per cent in the year when compared to 2019, a decline which was only exceeded by that of Cyprus and Greece.

This reflects a fall from nearly 10 million total nights spent by tourists in Malta in 2019, to less than three million spent in 2020.

On the other end of the scale, Denmark and the Netherlands faired the best, with tourism falling less than 35 per cent. 

Across the EU, tourism, as measured by the number of nights spent at tourist accommodation establishments, totalled 1.4 billion nights, reflecting a 52 per cent decrease on the same figure for 2019. 

Notably, whilst the decline in international tourism from abroad for many other countries was mitigated by internal tourism, Malta’s was to a much lesser extent, even though it was one of only three nations that recorded an increase in internal tourism during the year.  

This means that the net number of nights spent by tourists in Spain, for example, decreased less than that of Malta, even though foreign tourism to Spain decreased more than it did to Malta. 

The precariousness of the situation has been emphasised by Malta’s tourism stakeholders, including the Malta Hotels and Restaurant Association, who on Thursday issued a warning that the Government’s projected achieving of herd immunity by August needs to be brought forward, so the industry can reopen before the end of June.

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