PL and PN discuss tourism
PL spokeperson on tourism Gavin Gulija argued that the Gross National Profit for hotels is down. “It’s not surprising considering that in 2007, the electricity bill for the hotel industry was €17 million, as opposed to the 2010 total of €27 million,” he added.
Dr. Gavin Gulija said that Hotel occupancy numbers are down across the board. Occupancy in five-star hotels is down by 2% since 2007, whilst four star hotels are down 4% in the same period.
This winter Malta will operate with a similar capacity of the previous winter leading to a probable drop in tourism numbers like the first quarter of last year, the LP spokesperson said. “We must ensure that the 2 most important institutions for our tourism industry, Air Malta and MTA, work together and with all other stakeholders,” Dr. Gulija added. Over the past six years 169 airlines have filed for bankruptcy throughout Europe with countries like Spain seeing a drop in tourism rates. The problems facing Thomas Cook Airlines will likely result in Malta loosing flights in the coming years.
“If returned to government, I pledge to work towards an increase in routes and increased seat capacity in certain routes. We will focus on Germany which is not really hindered by the current EU crisis and can bring us higher spending tourists,” stated Dr. Gulia.
Minister for Tourism, the Environment and Culture Mario De Marco promised that if returned to power, the Nationalist Party will not be raising taxes.
Dr. De Marco said that Malta has and will continue to increase the airlines and routes operating in Malta. ”Having more than one source markets contributed to increasing business in winter. Over the past four years tourists in the Winter months increased by 17%,” the Minister said.
President of the MHRA, Tony Zahra, argued that the problem with electricity taxes has nothing to do with rising oil prices, but rather with how Enemalta operates. Mr Zahra said that, “as it is we are subsidising Enemalta, instead of the government subsidising us, if we carry on like this, you’re going to kill the consumer rather than the operator”.
When asked if he is worried about more airlines being brought to Malta, Chief executive officer of Air Malta told di-ve.com that he welcomes competition.