The number of tourist arrivals dropped by 66.2% in August when compared to the same month in 2019, statistics released on Wednesday show. 

A total of 114,458 tourists arrived in Malta that month, according to figures published by the National Statistics Office, with total expenditure calculated at €94.6m.

By contrast, in August 2019 Malta received 338,753 tourists, with expenditure at €329.6m. The figures mean tourism-related expenditure was down more than €234m in August of this year. 

August was the first full month when Malta International Airport reopened for most flights following a months-long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airport had reopened on July 1 but flights to and from many countries were prohibited until July 15. 

But despite having an open airport throughout August, travel to Malta took a hit when more than a dozen countries introduced restrictions for arrivals from Malta as the number of local coronavirus cases exploded in late July. 

On Wednesday, the NSO said 107,908 arrivals that month were for holiday purposes, while a further 2,318 were made for business. Most arrivals were aged between 25 and 44 years (42.6%), followed by those within the 0-24 age bracket (36.4%).

More than one in every five arrivals (21.7%) came from the United Kingdom. 

When compared to August 2019, total nights spent went down by 62.6%, surpassing one million nights.

The largest share of guest nights (40.5%) was spent in collective accommodation establishments.

Total tourist expenditure was estimated at €94.6 million, a decrease of 71.3% over the corresponding month in 2019.

January-August 2020

Arrivals for the first eight months of 2020 amounted to 533,417, a decrease of 71.2% over the same period in 2019. Total nights spent by inbound tourists reached nearly four million, a drop of 70.3% when compared to the same period last year.

Total tourism expenditure reached €353 million, 76.4% less than that recorded during the same period in 2019. Total expenditure per capita stood at €662, a decrease of 18.3% when compared to the same period in 2019.

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