Malta Tourism Authority Announced that 2023 was a Stellar Year for Inbound Tourism Including a Dramatic Increase from the North American Market

Bartolo noted that 2023 proved to be the best year of all time for Malta’s tourism industry, including the number of inbound tourists, guest nights spent in Malta, and tourist expenditure. The Minister further stated that Malta was the best performing Mediterranean destination in 2023, and one of the first destinations in Europe to fully recover after the pandemic. 

The increase from the U.S. & Canadian markets also showed extraordinary growth. According to Michelle Buttigieg, the Malta Tourism Authority North American Representative, the 2023 total number of visitors from the U.S. was 55,096, an increase of 35.6% over 2022 and a 9% increase over 2019 pre-COVID numbers. Canada also showed a 36.3% growth (20,820) over 2022 and an increase of 7.5% when compared to 2019 (pre-COVID figures). Buttigieg also pointed out that the cruise industry played a key role in this increase from the U.S. since Valletta, is a major port of call for Mediterranean cruise lines. In the last quarter of 2023 alone, there were 82 cruise liner calls compared to the 21 cruise lines of the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The total number of American Passengers for the same period (Q4/2023) reached 32,920, 40% of the non-EU cruise passengers.

Buttigieg further noted:

“Equally important for the North American market is Malta’s expansion as a luxury destination with new 5-star hotel openings, curated experiences, and a dedication to incorporating sustainable practices.” She added that this growth also reflects MTA North America’s concerted efforts through education, including the strong support from the Malta DMCs in working closely with tour operators through USTOA (United States Tour Operators Association), travel advisors through consortia such as Virtuoso, as well as a robust Travel Agent Academy Training Program.” These initiatives, combined with a well organized, integrated marketing campaign, a focused PR strategy, pushing luxury and curated experiences, niche markets, as well as a targeted Advertising campaign for trade and consumers have proven to be very effective.

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Grand Harbour, Valletta

MTA CEO Carlo Micallef explained “MTA’s marketing strategy – one that is data driven, focused on higher income experiential traveler demographics, agile to adjust to get best results and customer centric to engage with the potential tourists to our Islands.” While emphasizing the significance of marketing initiatives, Mr. Micallef also highlighted the Authority’s pivotal role in enhancing Malta’s appeal to tourists and refining its tourism offerings. He underscored the ongoing commitment to further improvement in the months and years ahead, aiming to sustain the revitalization of Malta’s tourism industry.

About Malta

Malta and its sister islands Gozo and Comino, an archipelago in the Mediterranean, boasts a year round sunny climate and 8,000 years of intriguing history. It is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Valletta, Malta’s Capital, built by the proud Knights of St. John. Malta has the oldest free-standing stone architecture in the world, showcasing one of the British Empire’s most formidable defense systems, and includes a rich mix of domestic, religious and military structures from the ancient, medieval and early modern periods. Rich in culture, Malta has a year-round calendar of events and festivals, attractive beaches, yachting, trendy gastronomical scene with 6 Michelin-starred restaurants and a thriving nightlife, there is something for everyone. 

Vilhena Gate

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About the author

Linda Hohnholz