Cruise passenger traffic up 5.5%
Cruise passenger traffic in the third quarter of this year was up by 5.5 per cent over the same period last year and reached 208,786.
There were 106 cruise liner calls between July and September, four more than last year. At 85.5 per cent, transit passengers accounted for the vast majority of total traffic, reaching 178,545.
A total of 2,749 passengers visited Gozo, while 9,185 passengers spent at least one night on board their berthed cruise liner.
Visitors from EU member states comprised 8 per cent of total traffic, the major markets being Italy, Germany and France. The total number of passengers from non-EU countries stood at 41,694, of whom 30.7 per cent came from the United States.
On a gender basis, women made up 53.0 per cent of the total number of passengers. The largest share of passengers were in the 40-59 age bracket and were followed by those aged between 60 and 79.
During the first nine months, total cruise passengers stood at 448,641, a rise of 5.8 per cent over 2015. Of these, 75.8 per cent came from EU member states. The biggest increases were recorded from the French and Spanish markets, which advanced by 12,669 and 11,800 passengers respectively.
There were 231 cruise liner calls during the first nine months, with an average 1,942 passengers per vessel, compared to 219 calls and an average 1,935 passengers per vessel in January-September 2015.
The government announced in the budget on Monday that Pinto wharf is to be extended to handle bigger cruise ships.