The National Statistics Office (NSO) said that inbound tourists in March 2012 totalled 80,980, a decrease of 18.7 per cent over the corresponding month last year. Total nights spent stood at 637,450, with an average length of stay of 7.9 nights.

NSO explained that excluding the effect of last year’s unrest in Libya, the decline was 9.2 per cent.

Furthermore results from the Tourstat survey indicate that an estimated 80,980 tourists visited the Maltese Islands during March. The drop in tourism figures may be partially attributed to the unprecedented rise in tourists witnessed last year, as a consequence of the unrest in Libya.

During March, 63,363 inbound tourist trips were carried out for holiday purposes, while a further 9,671 were business trips. Consequently, holidaymakers comprised the absolute majority of inbound tourists, albeit a decrease of 12 per cent over last year. The number of inbound tourists coming from EU countries dropped by 10 per cent. Nevertheless this category remained in the majority with a share of 86 per cent of total inbound tourism.

Meanwhile, the number of departing tourists from non-EU countries nearly halved. The main inbound tourism markets continued to be the UK and Italy, jointly accounting for 47 per cent of total tourists.

Non-package travel slightly exceeded package travel, with an estimated 51 per cent of total inbound travel. Nonetheless, non-package travel dropped by 29 per cent. Decreases were also recorded in the number of repeat tourists and first-time visitors.

Total nights spent during the reference month decreased by 16 per cent, reaching 637,450 nights. The majority of guest nights were spent in collective accommodation establishments.

The average length of stay stood at 7.9 nights, up by 0.3 of a night when compared to March last year. Total tourist expenditure was estimated at €61.5 million. This estimate is 8 per cent lower than that for 2011.

Inbound tourists during the first quarter totalled 204,925, down by 11 per cent over 2011. 84 per cent of all inbound visitors comprised tourists coming from EU Member States, despite a drop of 7 per cent. In absolute terms, this change is mostly attributable to a decrease in holiday visits, mainly from the Italian, British and French markets, NSO added.

On the other hand, the German market saw an upward shift of 18 per cent when compared to last year’s levels.

On a gender basis, male tourists exceeded females and accounted for 55 per cent of the total.
Most of the inbound tourists fell within the 45-64 year age group, and were followed by the 25-44 age bracket.

Total nights spent during the first quarter were estimated at over 1.6 million – a decrease of 8 per cent over last year. Nights spent in collective accommodation and in private accommodation decreased by 6 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.

Total tourist expenditure was estimated at €155.4 million. This estimate is 3 per cent lower than that for 2011. Per capita expenditure was estimated at €758, up by 9 per cent over 2011.

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