France and Italy were the main tourist drivers in January
Tourist arrivals in January dropped by more than 90 per cent compared to the same month last year, before COVID-19 hit Europe.
Data from the National Statistics Office shows that arrivals in the first month of the year reached 13,806, a 90.8 per cent year-on-year drop.
And the hit on tourism income, a key driver of GDP was stark. Total tourist expenditure was estimated at €11.7 million, a decrease of 88 per cent over the same month in 2020.
Malta currently has 40 countries on its amber list, meaning arrivals have to present a negative COVID-19 certificate or be subject to a test at the airport.
Travel from the UK, traditionally Malta's top tourist driver, continues to be suspended, due to the highly-transmissible variant of the virus, with only Maltese nationals and residents allowed in to the country.
Who is travelling to Malta?
The NSO said that 11,536 visited Malta for holiday purposes, 1,553 for business. Most arrivals were aged between 25 and 44 years (51 per cent), followed by those within the 45-64 age bracket (22 per cent).
The main markets were France and Italy, with a joint share of 47.3 per cent of total inbound tourists.
Total nights spent went down by 80 per cent when compared to January 2020, totalling to 190,853. The largest share of guest nights (59 per cent) was spent in non-rented accommodation establishments.
However, people stayed longer. A general increase in the average length of stay was recorded, especially among tourists staying in non-rented and other rented accommodation.
Total tourist expenditure was estimated at €11.7 million, a decrease of 88 per cent over the same month in 2020.