Speaking to TTG, Edward Zammit Lewis, Maltese minister of tourism, said tourism has been going from ‘strength-to-strength’.
Malta tourism.JPGSHARELINESTwitter Facebook “For 2017 we can boldly say that we will pass the two million mark…”
“2015 for us was an absolute record and in 2016 we saw 1.9m international tourist arrivals. For 2017 we can boldly say that we will pass the two million mark,” said Zammit Lewis.
To facilitate the predicted rise in tourist arrivals over 2017 the Mata Tourism Authority will receive a budget of €55m; an increase of €9m on the previous year.
The majority of funds will be spent on marketing the destination from the tourism organisation’s offices abroad, he added.
Zammit Lewis revealed that Malta will also be looking to expand to other markets in order to compliment the current three main pillars of tourism; the UK, German and Italian markets.
He said: “We are currently devising a strategy with the Polish market and we also expect great results from the US. Up to a quarter of a century ago we depended on the UK market but now we are embarking on a mission to diversify.”
Diversification will also extend into developing niche tourism, added Zammit Lewis.
“Niche tourism isn’t so much about increasing the quantity of what’s on offer; it’s about providing a quality product.”
Important niches that will see revamps include diving, LGBT and cultural tourism.
“We are also investing in medical tourism too to take us away from our typical image of the sun, sand and sea destination.”
Relationships with the UK trade will continue to play a major role for Malta said the minister.
“The UK trade is a very important area that we will keep working with. Our main operators send around 500,000 visitors to the islands.”