Non-hotel accommodation up 14.3%

5-star hotels experience dip in occupancy

Non-hotel accommodation increased by 14.3 per cent over the first nine months of this year with five-star hotels experiencing a drop in occupancy.

Addressing a presentation of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants annual tourism review, president Tony Zahra said that while occupancy in hotels of other grading increased slightly, five-star accommodation dipped.

He called for regulation of non-hotel accommodation and noted that, in Barcelona, AirBnB had recently been fined €600,000 for promoting unregulated accommodation. He urged the government to take a decision about the future of Air Malta soon. This would enable operators to start planning for the future, he said.

Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis spoke briefly about Air Malta. He acknowledged that negotiations were taking longer than some might have anticipated but he was resolute saying he did not want "quick fix solutions" but a long-term plan.

The tourism sector would not maintain its current success without a sustainable and competitive airline, he said.

Shadow minister Claudio Grech said Air Malta was in survival mode - the "cancerous political mentality" would pay the Opposition in a partisan sense to watch the government go at this alone, "but we do not want that. We want to help. If run as a private company Air Malta can thrive," he said.



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