Tourstat data for December showed an increase of 14.6 per cent in total inbound visitors when compared to the corresponding month in 2011. Excluding the 2,322 passengers who stayed overnight on board their berthed cruise ship, the increase amounted to 11.8 per cent.

The total number of inbound visitors during December was estimated at 63,695. Excluding the passengers who stayed overnight on their ship, 61,373 were departing tourists, up by 12 per cent compared to the corresponding month a year earlier.

Tourstat survey results show that 47,614 tourists visited Malta for holiday purposes, accounting for the absolute majority of tourism trips. A significant increase of 30 per cent was registered among business tourists.

First-time visitors made up the absolute majority of inbound tourists, and increased by 13 per cent over 2011. As in previous months, most inbound tourists came from EU Member States, while tourists from Non-EU countries rose by 19 per cent. Malta’s main tourism markets continued to be the UK and Italy, albeit a significant increase in the German market was noted.

Total nights spent went up by 30 per cent, reaching 638,824 nights. In absolute terms, the majority of guest nights were spent in collective accommodation establishments. However in percentage terms, a substantial increase was noted in the number of tourists residing in private accommodation. The average length of stay stood at 10.4 nights, up by 1.4 nights when compared to December 2011.

During the reference month, total expenditure of departing tourists was estimated at €54.8 million, a growth of 36 per cent over the corresponding month a year earlier. Expenditure on package travel went up by 45 per cent, while non-package expenditure advanced by 32 per cent.

Inbound visitors in 2012 surpassed the 1.45 million mark, an increase of 2 per cent over 2011 and an all-time high. Of these, 1,443,973 were departing tourists, up by 2 per cent over the comparable period in 2011.

Most departing tourists were holiday makers, predominantly from the euro area. However, an increase of 5 per cent was registered in the number of tourists from Non-EU countries.

Non-package travel was higher than package travel, with an estimated 53 per cent of departing tourists. Nonetheless, those opting for package travel edged up by 2 per cent when compared with 2011.

On a gender basis, results show that male tourists exceeded their female counterparts, accounting for 52 per cent of the total. The largest proportions of inbound tourists were aged between 45 and 64 and were followed by those within the 25-44 age bracket.

Total nights spent by departing tourists last year went up by 8 per cent, exceeding 12.6 million. The majority of guest nights were spent in collective accommodation establishments, where an increase of 4 per cent was reported. The average length of stay stood at 8.7 nights, up by 0.4 of a night over 2011.

During the period under review, total tourist expenditure was estimated at €1.3 billion. This estimate is 9 per cent higher than that for 2011. Increases were recorded throughout all expenditure categories. Total per capita expenditure stood at €931, an increase of 7 per cent over the previous year.

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