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In Malta, tourism is a treasure; 2014 set to be a rich year

The sun keeps shining on Malta's hotels: with solid occupancy driving rises in daily rates, RevPAR on the island has been up by 13.1% over the first semester of 2014. Couldn't the actual treasure of the Maltese be their islands?

Malta, a small Mediterranean archipelago located south of Sicily, has a strong tourism potential as its cultural heritage crosses sunny beaches. It will thus come as no surprise that the tourism sector has endorsed the role of a "white knight" for the local economy: tourism alone generated about 1/4th of the islands' GDP in 2013.

Indeed, Malta welcomed more than 1.5 million tourists in 2013, more than 10% above 2012 marks. The average length of stay is above 8 days and also on the rise from 2012. The high season extends from April to October, with August as the peak month -with more than 300,000 visitors in 2013. Most guests come from the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and France, which together account for about 60% of foreign arrivals in the country.

These guests naturally need to be welcomed and the Maltese hotel industry has been posting solid results over the first semester of the year -so 2014 is boding better than ever before. And this positive current trend should be put in perspective with the fact that Malta did not bear the cross of the recent economic crisis for long: according to MKG Hospitality's data, local hotel performances went back to life quickly, climbing above 2007-2008 marks as early as 2012. And hoteliers crossed another threshold in 2013 as their full-year performances reached unprecedented levels. Naturally the country has benefited from its geopolitical stability, in contrast to several competitor countries of the Mediterranean.

Over the first 6 months of 2014, occupancy rates (+3.4 points) and average daily rates (+6.6%) kept rising, allowing the RevPAR to surge by 12.4% to €68. In June, a high price increase (+11.4%) pushed the RevPAR up by 13.1% yet occupancy still remained very solid (87.7%). As July and August are the most popular among tourists, Malta could turn out to fill up its coffers this summer. Couldn't the real treasure of the Maltese be their islands?

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