Cruise liner traf­fic ex­pected to ex­ceed 700,000 mark this year

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

More than 700,000 cruise liner pas­sen­gers are ex­pected to visit Malta by the end of the year, which would make 2016 an ab­so­lute record for cruise lin­ing in Malta, Tourism Min­is­ter Ed­ward Zam­mit Lewis said yes­ter­day.

The min­is­ter was speak­ing at the launch of the Malta Cruise Net­work Fo­rum – a com­mit­tee made up of in­ter­ested par­ties which will serve to pro­mote Malta as a cruise lin­ing desti­na­tion of ex­cel­lence and come up with rec­om­men­da­tions on how to strengthen the sec­tor fur­ther.

Dr Zam­mit Lewis said 307 cruise lin­ers called at the Grand Har­bour last year, an in­crease of four over the pre­vi­ous year. Ac­cord­ing to NSO sta­tis­tics, they car­ried up­wards of 670,000 pas­sen­gers. This marked an in­crease of 30% over 2014. A study com­mis­sioned by Val­letta Cruise Port showed that the in­dus­try left a profit of €90 mil­lion in 2015.

Fig­ures for this year in­di­cated that 2016 will be an­other record year. 17 cruise lin­ers vis­ited be­tween Jan­uary and March – an in­crease of 8 over the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod of 2015.

Around 450,000 pas­sen­gers had vis­ited Malta by the end of Septem­ber, which marked a 6% in­crease over the same pe­riod in 2015. Val­letta Cruise Port es­ti­mates that cruise pas­sen­ger traf­fic this year will ex­ceed the 700,000 mark.

Dr Zam­mit Lewis said that, in view of these re­sults, the govern­ment felt the need to form a fo­rum which will be tasked with bring­ing greater syn­ergy within the sec­tor. The not-for-profit fo­rum, which will fall un­der the Malta Tourism Au­thor­ity, will dis­cuss ini­tia­tives to fur­ther strengthen the sec­tor. These in­clude pro­mot­ing Malta as a desti­na­tion of ex­cel­lence, im­prov­ing qual­ity and mak­ing Malta more at­trac­tive for home­port­ing.

The fo­rum is made up of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Tourism Min­istry, the MTA, Val­letta Cruise PPort, Trans­port Malta, the Min­istry for Gozo, Malta In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Her­itage Malta, the Ship Agents As­so­ci­a­tion, the Gen­eral Re­tail­ers and Traders Union, the Cham­ber of Com­merce and the Foun­da­tion for the Devel­op­ment of Tourist Zones.

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