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Drop in April tourist arrivals blamed on volcanic ash cloud

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Drop in April tourist arrivals blamed on volcanic ash cloudA cloud of ash from an Icelandic volcano, shutting a large area of northern European airspace for several days, had an effect on April tourist arrivals, which registered a drop of 1 per cent when compared to last year. However, total nights increased by 5 per cent, as inbound tourists stranded in Malta extended their stay. A shift towards travel by sea was also noted. German and British tourist arrivals were adversely affected, registering a drop of 33 and 6 per cent respectively. On the other hand, Italian tourists recorded an increase.

While the majority of tourists visiting Malta were holiday-makers, business tourism registered a decline.

The increase in total nights was mainly attributed to private accommodation, while guest nights in collective accommodation decreased by 1per cent. In contrast, considerable increases were recorded in private accommodation.

January-April 2010

Inbound tourists during the reference period were estimated at 286,758, an increase of 4 per cent in comparison with 2009. Overall, this change was mostly attributed to an increase in holiday visits, mainly from the Italian, Spanish and Scandinavian markets. Decreases were recorded in the German and Swiss markets.

The majority of tourists opted for non-package travel. Package trips recorded a slight increase unlike the figures observed during the first quarter. The largest proportion of departing tourists were aged between 45 and 64. These were followed by those in the 25-44 age bracket. Furthermore, the majority of tourists were first-time visitors, albeit an increase of 3 per cent in the number of repeat tourists was observed.

Between January and April, total nights spent by tourists increased by 6 per cent. Guest nights in collective and private accommodation increased by 6 per cent and 5 per cent respectively. The average length of stay stood at 7.8 nights, up by 0.1 when compared to last year.

During the period under review, total tourist expenditure was estimated at €214 million. This translates into an increase of 12 per cent over 2009. Increases were recorded throughout all expenditure categories.

Results indicate that per capita total expenditure was estimated at €758, up by 7 per cent when compared to 2009 levels.

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