The number of cruise passengers in Malta increased by 15 per cent in the last three months of 2015, while data for the whole year shows that passenger traffic surged by more than a quarter.

There were 88 cruise liner calls during the fourth quarter of 2015 – 12 fewer than the year before. Nearly 95 per cent of the 176,300 visitors were transit passengers, meaning they arrived in Malta and left on the same cruise ship.

Around 2,225 passengers visited Gozo, and 5,300 spent at least one night on board their berthed cruise liner.

According to the National Statistics Office, EU visitors made up three-quarters of the total traffic, and most of them hailed from Italy, Germany and France. A quarter of the rest were from the US.

Cruise passenger traffic for the year stood at 600,156 – a rise of 27.3 per cent over 2014. In all, there were 307 cruise liner calls in 2015, compared to 303 calls in 2014.