Sweet Success For 2007 Holiday Season

By: Roger Munns

A ten per cent rise in visitor figures for 2007 compared to 2006 after a long period of decline has bucked up the holidays in Malta industry.

From a dramatic position in 2006 when a major UK tour operator was considering withdrawing Malta from its brochures, not only has Malta increased the number of tourists visiting the island, but a British newspaper has included Malta in its top 20 places to visit - a real reversal in fortunes.

The British newspaper decribed Malta as a holiday 'honeypot'.

Malta has always been a likely spot for the British, with nearly all Maltese speaking fluent English - and like the British the Maltese drive on the left.

Malta used to be governed by the British, until 1964 when Malta became independent.

But outside of the UK holiday market, Malta hasn't enjoyed the same levels of visitors from other European countries such as Italy and Germany, compared to her competitor Spanish islands of Mallorca and Tenerife.

But that is now set to change, with a further boost for the Malta holiday and hotel markets, vital to the island's economy.

A low cost airline in Germany, Germanwings, started flights from Germany to Malta in late March, and with good bookings is looking to increase the number of flights to the island.

Helping Malta's image in the UK, Germany and other countries have been reports placing Malta at the top of tourist safety tables.

An American journalist last year placed the small Mediterranean island of Malta as one of the five safest travel destinations in the world, and a new report from the US this year confirms Malta as one of the safest vacation spots in the world.

This year's report bears more official weight than the previous one by a travel writer, as it was compiled by the US State Department.

Commenting on Malta, the report praises the island for the non existence of organised crime, especially surprising perhaps given her proximity to mainland Italy - and closer still to notorious Sicily.

A surprise for many who have driven in Malta is that the report considers the island's roads to be safe. But this is backed up by official EU figures showing Malta has the lowest road related fatalities in the EU.

Last year's report helped to promote Malta's image as a safe destination to potential tourists considering different holiday destinations.

Malta ranked as one of the top five locations for safety in the world, according to American travel writer Laura McKenzie.

Cheap flights and a safe holiday environment could bring further rises in visitor numbers in the years to come for Malta.

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