Europe

Do you really want 100,000 tourist beds?



If all the plans we know come true, Malta will have an astonishing 100,000 licensed beds for tourists by 2030. Other projects may surface in the coming years, and the number can be higher.

Currently, the bed stock is about 55,000. Therefore, we envision that the number of beds will almost double in the next eight years.

Europe’s future looks bleak due to the war in Ukraine, an industry that is still recovering after the Covid-19 pandemic, doubling bedstock as the economy is under pressure due to both the pandemic and the war Whether doing is an ideal step forward.

And when the pandemic and war are (hopefully) over and the economy is in full swing, do we really need to have plenty of beds available, even if everything is mediocre? Can a little Malta support them?

Really? I want We are already overcrowded, considering that being able to use them means that the infrastructure can be overwhelmed, more traffic problems than we already have, and even worse oppression. , Overcrowded, overbuilt. Beds need to be housed in the building, so in reality, to double the inventory of tourist beds, you need to double the number of existing collective facilities.

Before Covid, and of course before the war, Malta had already reached a saturation point in terms of the number of tourists. In 2019, it ended with 2.8 million tourists and set a new record.

Had Covid not confused the entire system and our lifestyle, it would probably have exceeded 3 million in 2020. All in all, 3 million tourists are almost six times the population of Malta. And if these 3 million people are evenly distributed throughout the year, there will always be 250,000 tourists. Therefore, in fact, the population will increase by 50% at any time.

With the exception of tourists, Malta is among the top 10 most densely populated countries in the world and is certainly the busiest EU member state. Having an average of 750,000 at 315 square kilometers may explain why we sometimes want to live in a nightmare.

sustainability

Over the last few decades, tourism has grown into one of the main pillars of our economy, and no one wants to see it suffer. We were all worried when the number of tourists dropped significantly during the peak of the unvaccinated Covid Pandemic.

This inevitably meant that hotels, restaurants, and all other sectors that depended primarily on the industry were hit hard. Jobs were cut off and the government had to intervene to provide financial assistance to prevent them (and most other sectors of the economy) from closing stores.

But before Covid, we all knew that everything was limited, even if the numbers increased and tourism revenues increased. We have been talking for years about the need to attract higher quality tourists. One tourist who spends 100 euros is better than 10 tourists who spend 10 euros each. That is, one tourist leaves the same amount of money in the country as all other tourists, but the impact on infrastructure is 10% of the other tourists. 10 tourists are leaving.

Again, with 55,000 beds available, some collective accommodations are already having difficulty maintaining profitable capacity. But what if it almost doubles? If supply does not increase at the same rate or demand remains the same as supply increases, the only solution is to lower prices. Therefore, increasing bed stock goes against the goal of attracting high-end visitors. Lowering prices means poor quality service, which in turn will attract poor quality tourists.

There was a past opportunity where this had already happened. The hotel has lowered prices to ridiculous levels. This meant that profit margins would drop significantly, while at the same time looking for cheap vacations and attracting tourists who would hardly remain in the economy.

moratorium

The Chamber of Commerce has seen the dangers of what is happening.

It requested a report that in the best scenario, 3.2 million tourists would arrive in 2030, and a total of 7 nights would result in 22.4 million guests staying.

The availability of 100,000 beds means an estimated capacity of 36.5 million nights, which would be 14.1 million more than 3.2 million tourists would meet if all were 7 nights.

This results in only 61% capacity, which is not what hotel operators expect.

And don’t forget that this is the best scenario. People go on shorter vacations (not 7 nights) and there are tourists who do not stay at the hotel. Therefore, the capacity can be less than 61%.

These findings urged the Chamber of Commerce to demand a moratorium on new applications for tourist accommodation.

The proposal does not seem to be accepted.

slow down

There is one more thing to remember.

Although pre-Covid tourist numbers were on the rise, Malta’s tourism sector could still face a slowdown, regardless of the pandemic.

According to a report released at the National Tourism Forum last October by Deloitte’s financial advisory leader Rafael Alloysio, increased supply of accommodation is beginning to impact profits and growth for the decade has begun to stagnate. .. 2019 – It’s before the pandemic begins.

He pointed out “signs of overheating” as incomes began to stabilize despite continued growth in tourist numbers. This clearly shows that room rates began to fall as the number of beds available increased.

If 55,000 beds are already available and profitability is already negatively impacted, things are likely to get worse if the number of beds doubles without a corresponding increase in the number of tourists.

Again, reaching this amount is not always a good thing. It means that the overcrowding will get worse.

There is no mass tourism

It has long been said that Malta should focus on quality tourists rather than quantity. It has long been said that we should focus on events, cultural and religious tourism rather than mass tourism. It was also previously said that stronger efforts are needed to spread tourists more evenly throughout the year.

No matter what is done to meet these requirements, it is clear that they are not as successful as we would like. Events that can attract tourists are still held in most warm seasons.

Last week, the Hungarian MEP, especially in the tourism sector, warned about the dangers of looking only for numbers. Hungarian Socialist Party Istvan Ujheli said focusing solely on mass tourism is dangerous as it leads to overcrowding that both tourists and locals will dislike.

He was polite to say that this would happen in the future if we weren’t careful.Because it’s already happening now. And it will only get worse if the planned ones come to fruition.

For quality tourists, we cannot say that we were able to attract more high-end tourists. Our hotel may be 5 stars, but the rest of the country is not.

We will discuss it at another time.

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https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2022-06-26/local-news/Do-we-really-want-100-000-tourist-beds-6736243998 Do you really want 100,000 tourist beds?

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