The National Statistics Office (NSO) said on Thursday that the number of tourists arriving in Malta and Gozo during the first seven months this year was estimated at 781,856, a drop of 999 when compared to 2011.
Total tourist expenditure was estimated at €683 million, up by 6 per cent when compared to 2011.
Increases were recorded throughout all expenditure categories, contributing an increase of 6 per cent in per capita expenditure, which reached €874
Inbound tourists in July were estimated at 174,715, an increase of 7.2 per cent over last year. Total nights spent during the corresponding period this year rose by 8.2 per cent, with an average length of stay of 9.7 nights.
85 per cent of all inbound visitors comprised tourists coming from EU Member States with the UK still the main market while a significant increase was recorded in the Libyan, Russian and German markets.
Demand for non-package trips decreased by 5 per cent, while package trips increased by 5 per cent. The largest proportion of inbound tourists were aged 45-64, despite a decrease of 1 per cent in this category. A substantial increase (9 per cent) was noted in the 65+ category.
Total nights spent rose by 5 per cent, surpassing the 6.3 million mark. Nights spent in collective and private accommodation establishments went up by 3 and 8 per cent respectively. In absolute terms, the majority of guest nights were spent in hotel accommodation. The average length of stay for this period stood at 8.1 nights, up by 0.3 of a night over 2011.
During July 147,097 tourists visited Malta for holiday purposes, accounting for the absolute majority of inbound tourists. However, a notable increase was observed among those traveling for business purposes. Inbound tourists from EU Member States went up by 5 per cent - this category represented the absolute majority of the tourism market, with a share equivalent to 81 per cent of total inbound tourism. Meanwhile, tourists from outside the EU increased by 19 per cent, reaching 32,770.
Malta's main market for inbound tourism remained the UK, with a share of 26 per cent of the total, followed by Italy, with 14 per cent. All main markets remained practically unchanged when compared to last year, except for Italy which advanced by 19 per cent. Table 1 shows that more than half the total inbound tourists opted for non-package travel. Non-package travel increased by 19 per cent, while package travel decreased by 3 per cent.
Meanwhile, total nights spent during July reached almost 1.7 million, the majority of which were spent in collective accommodation establishments. Nights spent in private accommodation rose by 8 per cent, while guest nights in collective accommodation advanced by 9 per cent. Overall, the average length of stay stood at 9.7 nights, up by 0.1 of a night when compared to July last year.
During the reference month, total expenditure was estimated at €190.1 million - a growth of 10 per cent over last year. Increases were recorded throughout all expenditure categories. Expenditure on package travel went up by 6 per cent, while expenditures incurred by non-package tourists experienced an increase of 24 per cent.