Three plane loads of tourists for Tunisia were brought to Malta last week because of the turmoil in the North African country, the Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism said this evening.

Reacting to criticism in a radio phone-in that the Malta Tourism Authority was not doing anything to capitalise on the situation in Tunisia - a major tourism destination in the Mediterranean, Dr Mario de Marco said no one liked to hear of trouble in neighbouring countries.

He however denied the claim by the caller, pointing out that tourists booked for Tunisia with a major UK tour operator were brought to Malta last week on three planes.

He said that all competing destinations, including Spain and Turkey, were seeking to attract tourists who would otherwise have had to cancel their holidays because of the trouble in Tunisia.

However, he said, the tourists who went to Tunisia were, in many cases, different from the tourists who came to Malta. Such tourists usually booked all inclusive holidays in Tunisian resorts for rock-bottom prices. Did Malta want to go down that road?


Meanwhile, Malta International Airport this evening announced a 12.8% increase in passenger movements in 2010. when compared to 2009.The number of passengers at MIA reached a record 3.29 million.

Aircraft movements at MIA increased to 28,936 which was +10% when compared to 2009 whilst seat capacity increased by 10.6%.

MIA’s main markets for 2010 were the UK with a share of 31.4% translating into 1,032,610 passengers (+3.3%) followed by Italy and Germany with 19.5% or 641,814 passengers (+28.8%) and 12.8% or 422,498 passengers (+1.4%) respectively.

Passenger movements at Malta International Airport in December reached 174,630, the highest number ever registered in December. The increase in passenger movements, when compared to the same month last year, marked a 10.6% increase. Seat capacity in the same month was of 279,069, an increase of 10.9% over December 2010.

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