News Releases

Outbound Tourism: Q1/2024
NR 090/2024
Release Date: 16 May 2024
Total outbound tourists for the first quarter in 2024 were estimated at 178,995, an increase of 13.2 per cent over the corresponding quarter of 2023. Total nights spent amounted to 1,197,923.


January-March 2024

During the quarter under review, a total of 116,324 outbound tourist trips were undertaken for holiday purposes, followed by 38,180 trips for visiting friends and relatives. Most outbound tourists were aged between 25 and 44 years (49.1 per cent), followed by those within the 45-64 age bracket (28.8 per cent) (Table 1).

Outbound tourists towards EU and non-EU countries increased by 10.0 and 21.3 per cent respectively, when compared to the same quarter of 2023 (Table 1). Italy remained the most popular destination, with a share of 34.5 per cent of total tourist trips (Table 6).

Total nights spent by outbound tourists increased by 10.7 per cent, almost reaching 1.2 million nights. The largest share of guest nights (50.6 per cent) was spent in rented accommodation establishments (Table 3). The average length of stay of total outbound tourists stood at 6.7 nights (Table 1).

Total estimated expenditure by outbound tourists between January and March increased by 21.8 per cent over the same quarter in 2023, and stood at €160.3 million, equivalent to an average €896 per capita (Tables 4 and 5).

Chart 1. Total outbound tourists by period

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Chart 2. Average length of stay by year and type of accommodation


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Chart 3a. Total expenditure per capita by outbound tourists by year


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Chart 3b. Total expenditure per night by outbound tourists by year


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Chart 4. Average expenditure per capita by final destination of outbound tourists


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Methodological Notes

1. This release focuses on outbound tourism, which comprises the activities of Maltese residents travelling to, and staying in places outside Malta (i.e. outside their usual environment), and staying for not more than 12 consecutive months for personal, business or other purposes.
2. Data on outbound tourism trips are collected from an ongoing frontier national survey known as Tourstat. Tourist air departures are collected through a continuous survey carried out at the departure lounge of the Malta International Airport. A two-stage sampling design is used to collect data on air passengers. In the first stage, alternate days and nights are selected. In the second stage, within each shift, a sample of passengers is selected systematically. Every crossing air passenger is counted and respondents are selected using a pre-defined interval of 1:20.
3. Tourist Sea departures survey data is supplemented by administrative data provided by ferry operators.
4. ‘Tourist trips’ differs from the ‘number of tourists’ such that the same person can undertake more than one trip during a reference period.
5. Absolute and percentage changes between one survey estimate and another based on less than 1,500 tourists should be treated with caution and are represented in this news release by means of the dash symbol (-).
6. Owing to Croatia’s entry into the Eurozone (with effect from 1 January 2023), Croatian data is statistically classified as being in the Euro area from January 2023. Comparability between comparative periods should be treated with caution.
7. Expenditure data in this release represent the budgeted expenditure of outbound tourists prior to their departure.
8. Data included in this release are based on sample data and are therefore subject to sampling error. Sampling error is measured by a quantity known as the margin of error, which in turn, expresses the variability between the true population parameters and their corresponding sample estimates. In the table below, the margin of error is used to construct a set of 95 per cent confidence intervals for the main indicators, which gives an indication of where the true population parameters lie.

Sampling variability of outbound tourism figures

Estimate Margin of error 95% confidence interval
Outbound tourists 178,995 1,579 178,995 ± 1,579
Total nights 1,197,923 52,556 1,197,923 ± 52,556
Total expenditure (€ 000) 160,302 5,748 160,302 ± 5,748

9. Definitions:

●  Usual environment: the geographical area, though not necessarily a contiguous one, within which an individual conducts his regular life routines and shall be determined on the basis of the following criteria: the crossing of administrative borders or the distance from the place of usual residence, the duration of visit, the frequency of visit and the purpose of visit.

●  Resident: a person is considered to be a resident of Malta/Gozo if:

a. S/he has lived for most of the past 12 months in Malta/Gozo;

b. S/he has lived in Malta/Gozo for less than 12 months but intends to return within a year to settle here.

●  Traveller: a person who moves between different geographic locations, for any purpose and any duration.

●  Visitor: the three fundamental criteria used to distinguish visitors from travellers are:

a. The trip should be to a place other than that of the usual environment, which would exclude short-distance local transport and commuting, i.e. more or less regular trips between the place of work/study and the place of residence;

b. The stay in the place visited should not last more than 12 consecutive months, beyond which the visitor would become a resident of that place (from the statistical standpoint);

c. The main purpose of the visit should be other than the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited, which would exclude migratory movements for work purposes.

●  Tourist trips: trips with at least one overnight stay in either rented or non-rented accommodation in the place/country visited.

●  Total nights spent: nights which a guest actually spends or is registered to spend in a rented accommodation or in a non-rented accommodation.

●  Average length of stay: the number of nights spent divided by the number of tourists during a specified reference period.

●  Rented accommodation: consists of the following two sub-categories:

a. Collective accommodation: comprises hotels, guesthouses, hostels, tourist villages, holiday complexes, Bed & Breakfast establishments and campsites;

b. Other rented accommodation: comprises holiday furnished premises (farmhouses, flats and villas), host families, marinas, paid-convents, rented yachts and student dormitories.

●  Non-rented accommodation: comprises own private residence (owned dwellings, owned caravans and yachts), staying with friends or relatives (even if charged – includes also friends’ private apartments) and other private accommodation (oil rig, free-convents or timeshare, etc.).

●  Total expenditure: refers to the amount that is going to be paid for the acquisition of consumption goods and services, as well as valuables during tourism trips. It includes expenditures by visitors themselves, as well as expenses that are paid for or reimbursed by others. Maltese residents are asked to budget the expenditures which they are about to incur when travelling abroad. The total expenditure is broken down by the following expenditure categories:

a. Package expenditure: the whole amount of money spent on transport, accommodation and other services such as rental of a car, activities or outings during the trip;

b. Non-Package expenditure: the amount of money spent on transport and accommodation reported separately;

c. Other expenditure: the amount spent on shopping, souvenirs, tickets for concerts or sport events, entrance to museums or zoos and day excursions during a tourism trip. It also includes durables and valuable goods, that is, the amount spent on cars, computers, paintings, jewellery and works of art.

10. More information relating to this news release may be accessed at:

Sources and methods
Statistical concepts 

11. The Tourstat survey was suspended between 12 March and 30 June 2020.

12. References to this news release are to be cited appropriately. For guidance on access and re-use of data please visit our dedicated webpage.

13. For further assistance send your request through our online request form.

14. A detailed news release calendar is available online.

Outbound Tourism: Q1/2024
NR 090/2024
Release Date: 16 May 2024
  • Outbound tourist trips from January to March 2024 reached 178,995 (+13.2 per cent), while total nights spent amounted to 1,197,923 nights (+10.7 per cent).
  • Italy remained the most popular destination with a share of 34.5 per cent.
  • The majority of guest nights (50.6 per cent) were spent in rented accommodation establishments.
  • Total expenditure by outbound tourists was estimated at €160.3 million (+21.8 per cent).
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