The Gozo Tourism Association (GTA) has reacted with disappointment to the statistics issued by the National Statistics Office this morning, revealing a 2.8% drop in January tourist arrivals in Malta and Gozo when compared to the same period the previous year.
The GTA expressed concern at the decrease of 545 in cumulative arrivals registered by Gozitan hotels and guesthouses.
The drop represented a 22% decrease in cumulative arrivals when compared to January 2011. During the same period a decrease of 757 bed nights was also registered in the hotels and guesthouses translating into 11.9% less bed nights.
On the other hand, the average length of stay in Gozitan hotels and guesthouses during the month of January 2012 registered an increase from 2.5 to 2.9 bed nights over the same month of last year.
"The regional figures were abnormally issued on a cumulative basis, incorporating both the foreign and domestic tourist arrivals and bed nights in Gozo. Consequently, this published data is not indicative of certain important factors that differentiate between the foreign and the domestic sectors," GTA CEO Joe Muscat.
"From what can be made out, the increase in the average length of stay is indicative of a drop in arrivals from the domestic market."
Muscat said that tourism data relating to Gozo should not be aggregated in a way which may distort the two main sources of arrivals: "This, especially when one considers the fact that domestic arrivals in Gozitan hotels and guesthouses represent 50 % of total arrivals on the island."
Muscat added that the performance of the Gozitan tourism industry can be better assessed, analysed and reviewed only if all relevant data is collected and published according to the appropriate sectors from which it is derived.