Tourist arrivals were up nearly 50% over 2020, the year the pandemic began
Tourist arrivals in Malta in 2021 increased by 47%, reaching 968,136 tourists, according to the National Statistics Office.
Despite the increase, the number of tourist arrivals remained well below pre-pandemic levels: in 2019, Malta had welcomed just over 2.7 million tourists.
The NSO said single centre destination inbound tourism accounted for the majority of trips (95.8%) with the rest being twin-centre destination trips.
Total nights spent by arrivals to Malta surpassed 8.3 million, an increase of 60.5% over 2020, when the country was out of bounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic for most of the year.
Nights spent by single centre arrivals accounted for 95.7% of total nights spent here. The remaining were nights spent on twin-centre destination trips. Arrivals to Malta accounted for 94% of the total, while the Gozo and Comino region accommodated 6% of the total nights.
In 2021, total expenditure by arrivals to Malta reached €870.7 million, an increase of 91.3% over 2020. In 2021, arrivals to Malta as a single centre destination reached 897,481 tourists, an increase of 45% over 2020. Most were aged between 25 and 44 (42.2%) and came from EU states (71.1%). The strongest market was the United Kingdom (21.9%).
More than half of the single centre inbound tourists (58.4%) travelled by low-cost airlines and 39.1% by other airlines. Travelling by low-cost airlines registered an increase of 42.6% compared to 2020. First-time tourists accounted for 72.5%.
Arrivals who visited Gozo and Comino as a single centre destination amounted to 29,889, an increase of 44.7% over 2020. This accounted for 42.3% of the total tourists to Gozo and Comino. The majority came from EU states (61.5%). The strongest market was the United Kingdom (30.7%).
Most were aged between 45 and 64 (38.3%). Non-package trips accounted for 89.7% of inbound tourists to Gozo and Comino.
Twin centre destination trips
In 2021, arrivals who visited both Malta and Gozo and Comino totalled 40,766, an increase of 113.8% when compared to 2020. The largest share of twin-centre arrivals were in the 25-44 age bracket (50.4%).
The majority of these were first-time tourists (76.7% per cent) and came from EU states (72.5%). The strongest markets were France (22.9%) and the United Kingdom (19.9%). More than half of the twin centre inbound tourists travelled by low-cost airlines (51.7%).
Total expenditure spent by twin centre tourists was estimated at €44.7 million in 2021, an increase of 162.6% over 2020.
Non-package expenditure by twin centre inbound tourists was almost nine times higher than package expenditure.