Active sport tourism increasing in popularity

The Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) is looking beyond the traditional attractions of sun and sea towards more specialised tourism, including those seeking active tourism. This segment is contributing millions of euro to the tourism economy with 11% of tourists visiting Malta last year having participated actively in some sport or other.

This active tourism is becoming increasingly popular and has become a niche in Malta’s tourist product and in fact generates an annual income of €220 million. According to the MTA’s calculations, tourists involved in some kind of sport activity spend an average of nine nights in the Maltese Islands and on a head-to-head basis spend €1,200 each.

It is estimated that last year 190,000 visiting tourists participated in sport activity, the most popular of course being diving but in recent years other activities such as abseiling and kayaking have considerably increased in popularity.

Andrew Galea from Malta Outdoors – one of the agencies providing activity opportunities – told that the demand for such activities is always increasing.

He said participation in sport is always increasing because of various factors and has shown a definite upturn in demand in recent years not only among tourists but the Maltese themselves requesting all types of activities. He said that Malta Outdoors also offers climbing and absailing.

Wied iż-Żurrieq is a highly popular locality for abseiling and kayaking. On Sunday morning we met a German couple who are in Malta as MTA guests. Carolin Steig and Martin Merten are bloggers who visit various countries and then relate their experiences.

“We are in Malta for the first time, but we have seen there is much more to experience than just architecture, food and wine. We have done a lot of activities. We have been climbing and cycling in Gozo and today we have made a coastal walk. It’s just beautiful here,” said Martin Merten.

Referring to the Blue Grotto walk, Carolin Steig said she was not quite sure about attempting it and at first it was quite scary and looked quite awesome. She said however that when one sees the arc beneath it is amazing.

Replying to a question by MP Silvio Parnis, Minister for Tourism Edward Zammit Lewis explained the importance of active tourism, particularly those niches that attract tourist participants during times of the year when general tourism is not that popular. He said the MTA is budgeting €0.5 million annually to promote active tourism.

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