Package holidays and cruises rule, but Maltese also tempted by exotic lands

While some travellers would rather book their holidays over the internet, renowned travel agencies across Malta say that package holidays are still going strong, offering travellers a relaxing option to have their holidays all sorted out for them

Outbound travel from Malta shows no sign of subsiding – in 2018, tourism from Malta to other countries rose by 16.5% in the second quarter of the year, according to the National Statistics Office.

While some travellers would rather book their holidays over the internet, renowned travel agencies across Malta say that package holidays are still going strong, offering travellers a relaxing option to have their holidays all sorted out for them.

Colin Aquilina, CEO of ROCS Travel, said that packages for Disneyland Paris remain one of the travel operator’s number one destinations. Yet destinations like Paris, Dubai, London, Cyprus and Prague among many others are not far behind.

“Primarily, most Maltese look for family holidays or destinations where the whole family can have a well-deserved break. Certain destinations like Disney, Dubai and Cyprus are extremely well equipped to cater for families.”

Aquilina said that these destinations understand that their businesses are focused on families and as such offer “amenities and services in line with family requirements.”

However, both Norman Hamilton, chairman of Hamilton Travel and Kevin Sciortino, a manager at Orange Travel, have reported their biggest sales in cruises, particularly in the Mediterranean.

“The demand for cruises in these regions has surpassed to the point were for 2020, we will be having two cruise liners weekly – one sailing to the western Mediterranean and the other one to the east,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton explained that one of the main reasons cruises are so popular with the Maltese was because of their full board, along with having non-stop entertainment.

“Cruises can, in some regards, make life easier, for example being able to leave your luggage at the cruise terminal and find it outside your cabin and vice versa on disembarkation. It takes a lot of hassle away from the traveller, who may not want to stay lugging a suitcase from one place to another,” he said.

Apart from cruises, demand remained strong for Scotland, Croatia, Slovenia, Prague, Russia, Italy, and Lourdes.

On his part, Sciortino also added the UK, Sweden, Cyprus and Greece.

“Right now, we’re seeing a surge in combination packages, where clients will book a few days at sea, and then a few days on land.”

Adventurous travellers  

Exotic destinations are also attractive to Maltese travellers. Aquilina said ROCS Group was starting to see more adventurous travellers interested in destinations like South Africa, Australia, Maldives, Vietnam, Colombia, Bali, Thailand and Cuba.

“These destinations have become popular not just with the younger generation but also with older seasoned travellers who are wanting to travel and discover new cultures and experience new cuisines,” Aquilina said.

It’s what they refer to as a ‘thrill of a lifetime’, he added.

Hamilton also confirms the growing interest of Maltese in countries such as Thailand, China, India, Vietnam, Nepal and Cambodia.

But Scortino adds that the adventurous travel group are in a minority, and usually from a younger crowd. “Travellers over 50 prefer staying closer to home, in my experience.”

Aquilina says destinations such as Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Bali, Maldives, New Zealand are also up and coming, and worth a visit.

“They’re must-sees for all those who believe it’s better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times,” he added.

And indeed ‘closer to home’ are places like Jordan and Morocco, which Hamilton says have proven to be popular destinations for adventurous travellers.

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