Updated | Malta received 2.6 million tourists in 2018

Tourist expenditure in Malta in 2018 amounted to €2.1 billion, figures released by the National Statistics Office show

2018 saw a surge of tourists throughout the year
2018 saw a surge of tourists throughout the year

Updated at 6pm with Konrad Mizzi's statements

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi announced after a National Statistics Office (NSO) report was published saying the same that 2.6 million tourists came to Malta in 2018.

Mizzi held a press conference in Conspicua, with the theme Sustaining Success, where he summarised the findings of the NSO report.

"Our vision is to become the best destination in the Mediterranean," he said, adding that Malta had become the least seasonal destination in the Mediterranean in 2018, welcoming tourists throughout the year.

2018, Mizzi stressed, was a year where Malta's core markets were strengthened.

The Malta Tourism Authority's main aim for next year, Mizzi said, was to attract the United States market and keep it in Malta's top ten markets. The NSO reported that in 2018, 50,000 inbound tourists came from the States.

"This is why we want to have the best infrastructure and high-level environments for Malta to keep going forward. In Mandragg, for example, or the three cities, the potential is enormous and we want to heavily regenerate these areas to attract more tourists," Mizzi said.

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said he was happy with the tourism figures for Malta in 2018
Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said he was happy with the tourism figures for Malta in 2018

Mizzi hopes to see Malta become a hub of world-class events.

The minister said that the government is currently conducting feasibility studies to find room for a convention centre with high-class infrastructure to encourage main events to choose Malta.

Inbound tourist trips between January and December 2018 reached 2.6 million, an increase of 14.3% over the same period in 2017.

Total tourism expenditure was estimated at €2.1 billion, 8% higher than that recorded in 2017. 

Most of these travellers came to Malta via air as the National Statistics Office (NSO) reports that only 47,005 tourists came to Malta in 2018 by sea. A further 35,229 were overnight cruise passengers.

Most of these tourists, a total of 2.2 million came from the European market. The statistics prove that Malta is still a top holiday destination since business and professional visits were limited to just 180,279 from the total.

READ MORE: Malta International Airport reports growth in all major markets

The statistics show that tourism has seen a growth spurt once again in 2018, both in terms of total visits and in terms of the duration of visits.

The total number of tourists who stayed in Malta for seven nights or more in 2018 was 1.3 million, an increase of 9.2% from the previous year when visits were shorter.

Tourists who have been to Malta before and have returned in 2018 amounted to 686,203. The rest were all first-time tourists.

Most of these, a total of 2.3 million, purchased rented accomodation in 2018 while just 322,812 stayed in non-rented accomodation, either in holiday homes they owned in Malta or stayed with their families.

The total nights spent by tourists in rented accomodation in 2018 amounted to 15.5 million. Most tourists came from the United Kingdom, followed by Italy.

In December 2018 alone, Malta saw a total of 105,766 inbound tourist trips for holiday purposes, an increase of 8% from last year's figures.