The Malta Independent 26 May 2019, Sunday

EFL: Students from major markets decline as Malta attracts more from Morocco, Japan, Brazil

Helena Grech Tuesday, 22 May 2018, 14:32 Last update: about 2 years ago

Students coming to Malta to learn English as a foreign language are increasingly hailing from countries which previously did not turn to the island as its destination of choice.

That being said, students coming from the more traditional markets such as the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and Libya are now on the decline.

The information came to light through survey commissioned to Deloitte, a major corporate services firm, by Feltom – the Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations Malta.


The year under review was 2017, with some changes being observed that depart from what has traditionally been seen on the island.

The industry of teaching English as a foreign language remains important for Malta which sees thousands of students flock to the island to learn English in a hot and sunny holiday destination.

Arguably, the industry was seen as being more essential when Malta’s tourism market and economy in general was less diversified than it is today.

The analysis took the top 25 source markets for Malta and observed the changes from 2016 to 2017.

When comparing the market share from each source market between the two years, it was found that the Swedish students spent 55 per cent less weeks on the island in 2017 when compared with 2016. With regard Dutch students, they spent 15 per cent less weeks over the same period. A decline of 17 per cent was registered for Austrian students, with Spain and Germany also registering a decline of 12 and eight per cent respectively.

Libyan students spent 55 per cent less weeks on the island last year, however the instability within the region is likely the dominant factor.

Conversely, Malta has seen an increase in less traditional markets. Student weeks spent in Malta by Brazilian students increased by 52 per cent between 2017 and 2016. Japanese students registered an increase of 17 per cent, South Korean students also spent more time on the island with the increase calculated to be 17 per cent. Russian students also registered an increase at nine per cent, as well as Poland at 20 per cent, China at 55 per cent, Venezuela at 15 per cent and Ukraine at 13 per cent.

The most surprising increase in weeks spent by students learning English in Malta was from Morocco, which registered an increase of 152 per cent and Iran at 91 per cent.

The Italian and Swiss markets saw an increase in weeks spent by 18 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.

Overall, student weeks increased by 6.6 per cent as a result of shorter stays, “in line with overall tourism trends but also resulting from a shift in the student mix with junior students accounting for 52 per cent of total arrivals, say the Deloitte report.

A pattern has been observed with the more junior students, the shorter the stays.

The number of student weeks spent in Malta by non EU countries increased by 13.7 per cent and accounted for 48 per cent of the total student weeks spent in 2017.  

Deloitte reported that strong growth has been observed in accommodation revenue “which essentially reflects the overall increase in accommodation prices across the island”.

The survey found that revenue from this sector in 2017 increased by 4.9 per cent when compared to the previous year. This revenue growth was mainly driven by volume rather than spending as the average turnover per student week declined by 1.7 per cent.


  • don't miss