Last Updated on Monday, 13 February, 2023 at 5:49 pm by Andre Camilleri
Tourism spending habits for 2022 should be compared to 2019 not 2021, Minister for Tourism Clayton Bartolo said on Monday.
The minister was asked for a reaction on NSO statistics after it was revealed that nearly 2.3 million tourists visited Malta in 2022, but their per capita expenditure dropped when compared to 2021.
Bartolo said that the Tourism authority together with the ministry for Tourism are using the year of 2019 as a point of reference as “we are seeking to recover (from the Covid-19 pandemic hit)”.
“When we are saying that we had a record year in 2019, then we use that as a benchmark year and not a different year (2021) that was impacted from various problems all year round such as the pandemic” he said.
He said that ministry is targeting 2019 levels that need to be achieve and “go above”.
“In comparison the spending habits (for 2022) were very similar to 2019 and that is why we need to compare 2022 with 2019. We look forward to this year 2023 as we compare it to 2022 which was another year that had consistent (spending tourist) trends .”
Bartolo said that he has full confidence in the running of the Malta Tourism Authority and that the situation will be handled accordingly.
Head of Events at the MTA Lionel Gerada was accused of having a conflict of interest by managing the expensive events that the government authority sponsors while also engaging in his own private business.
On the matter, Bartolo said that MTA already has a new director, and that he as a minister is not to “interfere because MTA has its own procedures”.
Asked about the kind of advice being given to Air Malta, the minister said that although it is the Finance Minister Clyde Caruana, who is responsible of Air Malta, “as a tourism minister I understand the strategic importance of the strategy which Air Malta has, and we need to see that we continue moving forward so that we have a national airline that is capable to serve our country, not only from a tourism aspect but also from a strategic aspect”.