Updated 1.30pm with MTA comments

The number of tourists visiting Malta between January and April 2017 reached 548,475, an increase of 22.9 per cent over the same period in 2016.

April is always a tricky month for tourism statistics because of Easter but this year’s figures show that the 21.9 per cent increase that month is reflected in the figures for the whole four months.

The National Statistics Office noted that there was a significant increase of 60.5 per cent in the number of business trips when compared to April 2016. The figures gave no indication of the impact of the EU presidency on business travel, however.

The number of nights that tourists spent on the islands went up by 15 per cent, reaching nearly 1.3 million nights, with almost two-thirds of them (62.0 per cent) opting for collective accommodation.

Tourists spent a total of €153.8 million in April, an increase of 24.9 per cent over 2016, however, expenditure per capita, when taken over the first four months was down slightly, by 4.3 per cent.

Updated 1.30pm

The large majority of source markets featured increased tourism flows with Italy recording the largest absolute increase of 18,219, followed by Belgium (+15,307) and Germany (+11,359), the Malta Tourism Authority.

The Malta Tourism Authority CEO Paul Bugeja said: “The team at MTA is very satisfied with the sustained growth in inbound tourism performance, continuous positive results in managing to substantially reduce seasonality and in particular with the double digit growth rate in tourist expenditure with particular reference to the per capita spent.

"Such continuous and steady positive results deeply permeate in the local economy and is beneficial not only to all stakeholders in the tourism industry but also to the community at large.”

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