AirBnB owners and people providing accommodation to tourists were not going through the proper channels and were gaining an unfair advantage, Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association president Tony Zahra warned.

“We’re not talking about a level playing field; we’re talking about people who are not paying their taxes and who are not paying their MTA fees,” he said.

He also warned Malta might see its tourist numbers decrease because other countries like Egypt and Tunisia had resolved safety concerns.

Mr Zahra also warned bed overcapacity would bring with it “some tough competition where there will possibly be no winners and only the strongest will survive”.

“I would strongly advise those planning accommodation projects to seek professional advice before they start spending money on plans or even worse on the project itself,” he said.

Growth in non-collective accommodation, such as AirBnB, is outpacing that of hotels, a survey by Deloitte warned on Friday.

The problem of overcapacity was only getting worse over time, Mr Zahra warned. Development was growing but non-collective accommodation was “the elephant in the room”, he said.

The number of people seeking accommodation in hotels was still on the rise, but at a conservative level, the Deloitte survey found.

And while tourist numbers were on the rise, tourist expenditure remained flat in 2018, the survey found.

Non-collective accommodation such as AirBnB might start eating into hotels' profitability, Raphael Aloisio warned.

Hotel accommodation, however, was also in short supply, he added.

Commenting on the figures, Mr Zahra warned that hotel accommodation figures would no longer be positive in the future.

"We are operating at a level which is extremely competitive, and we have to react at the correct time,@ he said.

He also said the association was planning a short-term and long-term plan to address the threat of AirBnB and other non-collective accommodation.

"We have to make sure we are offering value for money, but we also have to make sure we continue working hard to remain successful," he said.


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