The Malta Independent 28 June 2022, Tuesday

Hotel bookings for Easter reached 70% of same period in 2019 – MHRA president

Sabrina Zammit Tuesday, 19 April 2022, 09:04 Last update: about 3 months ago

Hotel bookings for Easter averaged over 70% of the number of bookings during the same period in 2019, President of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association Tony Zahra told The Malta Independent on Monday.

85% of the hotel guests were non-Maltese, Zahra said.

As for restaurant bookings, Zahra said that during the Easter period they were very well frequented, with equal numbers of Maltese and foreigners frequenting such establishments. Naturally, he said, this depended on the locality. Restaurants in Gozo, for example, would have the majority of their customers being Maltese, whereas those in areas like Bugibba would have seen a majority of non-Maltese customers.

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Zahra said that these results were most welcome, coming soon after the Covid-19 situation began to improve.

Explaining what led to this result, he said the decrease in Covid-19 restrictions since last year’s festive period positively impacted this year’s outcome.  “We are cautiously optimistic about the future and look towards the complete removal of all restrictions, so that we can get as close to the 2019 results as possible.”

As for Gozo in particular, this year’s domestic market in Malta’s sister island was affected by not so favourable weather conditions such as strong winds, which affected pre-made bookings, Gozo Tourism association CEO Joe Muscat said.

He added that since Easter is always a busy period and that Good Friday is also a public holiday, there is an obvious increase in the domestic market in Gozo

Although he doesn’t have any figures on hand, Muscat confirmed that the market was not like pre-pandemic Easters. “Such weather conditions might have also discouraged Maltese from crossing to Gozo,” he said.

Speaking about the foreign market in Gozo, he said that it is slowly recovering, “as its presence is being felt, which was also evident for the Easter period”

He added that expectations for Easter are always high, but there are certain conditions which cannot be controlled, such as this year’s weather.

Despite this, Muscat said that during the Covid-19 pandemic, Gozo remained a favourite destination amongst the Maltese, as they still consider it as a hassle-free break, unlike if they were to take a trip abroad due to travel Covid-19 protocols.

Gozo Business Chamber CEO Daniel Borg said that, from the feedback he received, it seems that the Easter season was a good one for Gozo.

He added that although he cannot confirm if there was an increase in domestic tourism, over the last two years it has been consistent.

Speaking about the Foreign tourism market in general, he said from indications that it is slowly and gradually recovering.

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