An even distribution of tourists
An Indication on the State of our Environment (6)
Is tourism pressure on the environment increasing?
Tourism plays an important role in the Maltese economy, however it results in additional pressures on the environment from electricity and water consumption, waste generation, land take-up and pressure on ecologically-sensitive areas. These pressures can become unsustainable if not properly managed. In 2011, tourist numbers increased by 5.6 per cent, to 1.4 million, while total bed-nights increased by 4.8 per cent. The average daily number of tourists also went up by 4.8 per cent, reaching an average of 32,000.
In 2011, the number of departing tourists in August fell by 1.9 per cent to 191,583, while daily tourists in August decreased by 5.1 per cent, to 61,769.
Achieving a more even distribution of tourists throughout the year would help to alleviate seasonal pressures on environmental resources. During this period the government continued to pursue a segment-based marketing strategy, seeking to optimise winter month capacity, with the result that during 2011, almost all months registered growth compared to the previous year.
In 2011, foreign students attending English-language specialised schools decreased by 4.7 per cent to 69,297, after an increase of 5.5 per cent in 2010. These students represented 4.9 per cent of total tourists in 2011 (down from 5.4 per cent in 2010), with half of them (50.1 per cent) visiting in summer, similar to 2010.
Cruise-liner calls increased by 13.1 per cent, up by 36 calls to 311 in 2011, while passengers increased by 13.3 per cent. In parallel the winter sun segment grew by 10.3 per cent over 2010, and growth rates were also registered for the culture and heritage, and conference and incentive segments, which focus on the non-peak season.
For more information see The Environment Report Indicators 2010-2011 at http://www.mepa.org.mt/teri2010-2011.