Valletta Cruise Port

Cruise passenger traffic has continued its sharp recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with increases in passenger numbers during the opening three months of 2024, despite a slight decrease in cruise liner calls.

Statistics published by the National Statistics Office (NSO) on Tuesday (today) revealed that total cruise passenger traffic for 2024’s first quarter amounted to 76,562, a rise of 6.4 per cent over the same period last year.

Transit passengers accounted for the absolute majority of total traffic, reaching 73,372, equivalent to 95.8 per cent of the total.

However, there were 19 cruise liner calls during the quarter, a decrease of two when compared to the corresponding period of 2023.

On average, every vessel that berthed in Malta carried 4,030 passengers, 602 more than the previous year.

62.7 per cent of total traffic was made up of passengers from EU Member States, with the major markets being Italy, accounting for 28.4 per cent of total passengers, followed by Spain (11.3 per cent). The number of passengers from non-EU countries stood at 28,584, 21.9 per cent of whom came from the United Kingdom, while 14.5 per cent came from the United States.

Female passengers made up 52.4 per cent of the total figure.

The largest share of passengers fell within the 40-59 age bracket at 32.4 per cent, with these being closely followed by those aged between 60 and 79 years (25.9 per cent).

This improved performance in cruise passenger traffic continues the trend of heightened recovery from the pandemic. In 2023, total cruise traffic amounted to 814,603, an increase of 66.4 per cent over the previous year.

It is important to note that the first quarter tends to be the quietest period for Malta’s tourism industry, with much higher quarterly figures being reported in other times of the year. In fact, during 2023, each month from July to September (both months included) exceeded the 100,000-passenger mark.

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