The recent BOV Quarterly Review meeting, Deloitte stated that Malta’s hotel sector continued to report positive growth in the fourth quarter of 2015 and the overall results of the 2015 BOV MHRA survey by Deloitte are very encouraging, notwithstanding a relatively flat trend in overall collective accommodation bed nights.
The results published by the Silver Service recruitment does not indicate that the positive performance in the Hotel industry is totally reflected in the Restaurant business.
All sectors reported significant rate improvements in 2015, leading to increased revenue however this was partially offset by increased expenditure in payroll, direct costs, property maintenance and marketing. The increase in expenditure is indicative of a general upgrade in Malta’s accommodation product which is being reflected in increased room rates.
Whilst tourism statistics for 2015 report an increase of 8% in arrivals and 5% in guest nights, the reported growth continues to be practically all going to non-licensed accommodation establishments. Mr Zahra made reference to the urgent need that Government embarks on an aggressive campaign to address unlicensed operators, since these do not only create an unfair level playing field in the market place from a competitiveness perspective but also threatens the quality product and service standards of our tourism sector. Through this statement MHRA seems to be once again attacking or lobbying towards making it difficult for persons wanting to rent their places. This is indeed in contrast with what GRTU had in the past asked for. At the time the Director General of GRTU had requested that families are incentivised to open their homes to tourist in order to increase bed stock. Indeed, the GRTU had on that instance stated that in this manner there could also be increased tourism in the South of Malta. To the contrary it seems that MHRA continues in its interest in stimulating economic activity only in the North of the island. One may recall that MHRA had supported all polluting initiatives in the South and was in favour and lobbied for shifting the fish farms to the South of Malta in order to protect in what they consider the only touristic part of Malta. They could not be bothered with their members in the South.
The number of tourists and guest nights reportedly opting for collective accommodation in 2015 was substantially in line with what was reported last year. This is also reflected in the survey results, where occupancy levels increased marginally notwithstanding temporary reductions in capacity due to a number of hotel refurbishment projects, leading to less bed capacity available.
The MHRA press release concluded with a political message from Mr Zahra that had nothing to do with the performance of Hotels. It would have been more appropriate to include a comment on what is MHRA vision beyond the 2018 activities and what is government doing it this aspect. It seems that MHRA following the promise and the allocation of Euro 300 thousand by Government for its foundation has lost its independency and objective reporting.