TRAVEL GAZETTE – Nearly 40,000 cruise passengers arrived in Malta in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 90 percent over the same period of 2015, Maltese Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said on Monday.
In an address welcoming the first-ever call of a Carnival Cruise Line ship at Valletta’s cruise port, the minister said there was no doubt that the cruise-liner market had taken on critical importance within Malta’s tourism industry.
A substantial number of first-time visitors come back to the archipelago for a longer stay, generating further business in tourism, he said.
Zammit Lewis said 2015 was a record year for the industry in Malta as 307 cruise line vessels entered the Grand Harbour. According to figures published by the National Statistics Office, these vessels carried more than 670,000 passengers, up by 30 percent from 2014.
He elaborated that the trend appeared to be continuing. Seventeen cruise liners called in Valletta’s port between January and March of this year, eight more than last year.
The minister said about 80 percent of Carnival passengers stopping in Malta were from the United States.