Malta enjoyed a record year in 2010 and hopes to maintain visitor levels this year despite a bookings slowdown due to recent Middle East protests.
Last year 415,120 UK visitors went to Malta compared to 398,472 in 2009 - a 4.2% increase. Overall, there was an increase of nearly 13% in visitors internationally, the country’s best ever year in terms of tourism.
UK and Ireland director Alex Incorvaja said: “This was a fantastic year for Malta both overall and the performance of the UK market.”
He credited the good performance to accessibility - with new UK regional routes boosting bookings - as well as an aggressive marketing strategy to increase awarenenss of the country, including hosting the Abta’s Travel Convention last October, and the diverse product range.
But he admitted the country suffered in February due to a general downturn to the Middle East. He said: “The last four weeks have presented their own challenges. Even though Malta is not close, research shows bookings slowed down through operators towards the end of February.
“People have delayed some holidays because of what was happening in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. We need to reinforce the message Malta is safe.”