MHRA looks forward to increased seat capacity in 2013

Hoteliers and restaurateurs say increased seat capacity is the ‘winning formula’ for Malta.

MHRA President Tony Zahra.
MHRA President Tony Zahra.

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association welcomed the news that Ryanair, Air Baltic and Air Malta have taken concrete initiatives that will result in in seat capacity increases.

"Improved seat capacity is always good news for our tourism industry but more significantly to the Maltese general economy," MHRA said in a statement.

Yesterday Ryanair announced that it was adding three routes to its Malta schedule as of April 2013.

"These routes will mean 12 extra flights a week that translate to 15% growth in the Airline's capacity this year. Furthermore, added to the already established routes, Ryanair will be operating 170 weekly flights to and from Malta. It is also encouraging to note that next year the airline is estimating to bring to the Island an extra 60,000 tourist," MHRA said.

The association also welcomed Air Malta's 25% reduction in its winter tickets. This initiative has led to the national airline to increase its sales by 5,000 seats or 69% when compared to the same period last year. This morning, Air Baltic announced that it will be having a regular weekly flight from Riga Capital city of Latvia.

"All this is positive news and very encouraging for all tourism players and indeed the country, as it comes at a time when the industry is concerned about the potential negative effects on tourism as a result of the economic pressures prevailing in Europe, which represents Malta's main source markets," MHRA president Tony Zahra said.

MHRA reiterated that a critical success factor to the sustainability of the tourism industry is increased accessibility.

"In fact the significant increases in tourist arrivals registered over recent years are indisputably linked to increases in seat capacity to our islands."

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More seats does not necessarily mean good news for Malta, especially since the increase is happening in the summer months when tourists already put great pressure on the Maltese environment. What we need is more tourists in the Winter season as this is where we still can cope with an increase in the number of tourists visiting our islands. Have you calculated the impact that more tourist in summer have on our electricity generation, water resources, land transportation, road networks etc, etc. Bringing more tourists in summer is not the way forward but winter tourism is the answer to our economic wellbeing!! Even for the hospitality industry more winter clients would result in higher profitability as more demand would increase the Revpar!! thus turning losses in the winter months to profit making throughout the whole year