EU pres­i­dency; ho­tel price hikes not ex­pected to deter av­er­age tourist – Ed­ward Zam­mit Lewis

Malta Independent - - NEWS - He­lena Grech

While Malta’s high-end ho­tels gear them­selves for the con­fer­ences tak­ing place in Malta dur­ing the 2017 EU Coun­cil Pres­i­dency, Tourism Min­is­ter Ed­ward Zam­mit Lewis dis­cusses how this will not deter the av­er­age tourist.

“As with other con­fer­ences and meet­ings, the EU Pres­i­dency at­tracts busi­ness del­e­gates who can afford to stay in the top cat­e­gories of ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“This is why th­ese higher spend­ing seg­ments are amongst those which the Min­istry and the MTA are ac­tively pur­su­ing. This does not ex­clude or neg­a­tively af­fect other cat­e­gories of vis­i­tors who will seek lower cat­e­gories of ho­tel or al­ter­na­tive types of ac­com­mo­da­tion.”

An ex­er­cise was car­ried out by The Malta In­de­pen­dent where a com­par­i­son was made with the prices of 15 four-star and five-star ho­tels around Malta for one night in the sec­ond week of Novem­ber and one night on the third week of Jan­uary. Out of 15 ho­tels, nine had in­creased their prices, four left the prices un­changed and two had ac­tu­ally de­creased their prices.

The price in­creases range from a sig­nif­i­cant €79 to a measly €6 in­crease. Be­tween the months of Jan­uary and March 2017, a num­ber of con­fer­ences are ex­pected to be held in re­la­tion to the EU pres­i­dency. Such months are typ­i­cally shoul­der ones with ho­tel and ac­com­mo­da­tion typ­i­cally re­duc­ing room rates. Asked about this, Min­is­ter Zam­mit Lewis said:

“The EU Pres­i­dency is one of those events which at­tract higher in­flows of vis­i­tors, and as any other coun­try around the world, Malta is no ex­cep­tion to mar­ket forces in­clud­ing the fluc­tu­a­tion of ho­tel rates on the ba­sis of sup­ply and de­mand.

“Nor­mally the mar­ket will re­vert back to a nat­u­ral state of equi­lib­rium soon after the event has passed. Fur­ther­more, the pe­riod of Malta’s Pres­i­dency in­cludes the three tra­di­tion­ally leaner months of Jan­uary to March dur­ing which de­mand is lower thereby damp­en­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion prices.

“An event such as the Pres­i­dency con­trib­utes pos­i­tively to ho­tel prof­itabil­ity by at­tract­ing rates tra­di­tion­ally de­manded dur­ing busier months.”

Dis­cussing air­line ca­pac­ity through­out next win­ter, Dr Zam­mit Lewis added:

“It is also worth bear­ing in mind that, not­with­stand­ing the ben­e­fits that the EU Pres­i­dency is ex­pected to gen­er­ate, this com­ing win­ter sea­son is ex­pected to gen­er­ate strong tourism growth across the board ow­ing to Malta’s suc­cess in at­tract­ing im­pres­sive air­line seat ca­pac­ity in­creases dur­ing the low sea­son.

“This wel­come growth will con­tinue to re­duce the neg­a­tive ef­fects of sea­son­al­ity thus fur­ther strength­en­ing Malta’s pro­file as the Mediter­ranean’s least sea­sonal des­ti­na­tion.

“2017 is also fore­cast to be a mile­stone year for Malta in view of the fact that the record two mil­lion tourist bench­mark is ex­pected to be sur­passed for the first time ever.

“All of this is very much in line with gov­ern­ment’s pub­lished 2014 Tourism Pol­icy which fo­cused on a man­aged tourism growth strat­egy based on the at­trac­tion of higher value tourism spread more evenly through­out the 12 cal­en­dar months.”

Turn­ing to is­sues of main­te­nance and up­keep in the busier touris­tic ar­eas, he said:

“Dur­ing the EU Pres­i­dency, but not only then, the Min­istry will be col­lab­o­rat­ing with other en­ti­ties to en­sure that Malta is seen as much as pos­si­ble at its best in all as­pects. This was the rea­son­ing be­hind the in­tro­duc­tion of the en­vi­ron­men­tal con­tri­bu­tion ear­lier this year, the pro­ceeds from which will be used for the up­keep and em­bel­lish­ment of tourism zones.

“We will also con­tinue and take the op­por­tu­nity of the many high pro­file vis­i­tors to strongly mar­ket Malta in prepa­ra­tion for Val­letta Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture 2018, dur­ing which year we would also ex­pect to host a bet­ter mix of tourists.

“In con­clu­sion, the past three years have seen Malta strength­en­ing its po­si­tion­ing as a lead­ing Mediter­ranean con­fer­ence des­ti­na­tion and the sec­tor is in line for fur­ther ex­pan­sion as the newly set up Con­ven­tions Malta en­ables the des­ti­na­tion to tap more ef­fec­tively into pre­vi­ously un­reach­able mar­kets and seg­ments. The EU Pres­i­dency is but one ad­di­tional step to­wards the re­al­i­sa­tion of th­ese ob­jec­tives,” he said.

Nor­mally the mar­ket will re­vert back to a nat­u­ral state of equi­lib­rium soon after the event has passed

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