Study says Malta needs 5 million tourists to sustain existing, planned hotels

A study carried out by Deloitte shows Malta will have to attract 4.7 million tourists over the next six years to ensure existing and planned hotel beds reach 2019 occupancy levels

Malta will need to attract almost five million tourists a year to ensure the sustainability of all existing and planned hotel bed stock, a tourism study suggests.

The findings show that once all hotels that have regulatory approval come on line, together with existing bed stock will require 4.7 million arrivals, staying an average of just under seven nights each, to achieve 80% occupancy throughout the year.

The study called ‘Carrying Capacity Study for Tourism in the Maltese islands’ was commissioned by the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) and conducted by Deloitte, an audit and financial advisory firm. The findings were released on Thursday morning.

An overview of planning authority permits for hotels, whether approved or in the process of being approved, suggests that tourism bed stock is set to grow considerably despite demand-side risks.

This means that for hotels to achieve the same occupancy they enjoyed in 2019 – the last boom year before the pandemic struck – Malta will have to attract 4.5 million tourists.

This will increase pressure on the country’s infrastructure, such as the sewage system, which is already strained, and exacerbate the strain on tourism hotspots like Comino, Mdina and the Cittadella in Gozo.

READ ALSO: If Comino and Mdina feel crowded, a study has just given us the numbers to prove it

Regeneration study of Buġibba and Qawra

Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo said in a short address that Malta "cannot and should not compete on price" but focus on visitor experience.

However, he warned that operators should not outprice themselves from the market.

Bartolo said the challenges the industry is and will be facing must be addressed in detail and such a study will help inform the debate.

He announced that government will be carrying out a regeneration study of the Buġibba and Qawra area, which last saw major infrastructural works to upgrade the zone in 1997.

Bartolo said cleanliness needs to be addressed every day and various initiatives have been taken with the aim of having a cleaner country.

Read the full report below: