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GPH’s Stephen Xuereb foresees Malta surpassing 900K passengers in 2024

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Stephen Xuereb announcing Valletta Cruise Port's exceptional year during a press conference
Stephen Xuereb, CEO of Valletta Cruise Port and COO of Global Ports Holding, predicted Valletta Cruise Port will record more than 900,000 passenger movements in 2024.

During a press conference, it was revealed by Xuereb and Malta’s minister for tourism and public cleanliness, Clayton Bartolo, that Valletta handled close to that amount in 2023 – a 65% increase on 2022. 

2019 was a record year for Valletta Cruise Port, racking up 902,425 cruise passengers. 

‘Extremely positive’ prospects 

Xuereb highlighted the significance of Malta's position, enabling it to welcome ships sailing to both the East and West Mediterranean, while being attractive for repositioning cruise ships. He said, ‘This industry leaves a substantial impact on the Maltese Islands in economic terms: services to ships and services to passengers; flights to and from Malta with an impact on airlines and the airport, with passengers also having the option of spending several days in our country before or after their cruise.' 

He said that the industry has 'not only achieved full normality post-pandemic, but is expanding' with more than 50 cruise ships on the orderbook up to the end of 2028, 11 of those entering the market in 2024.

‘Locally, prospects for 2024 are extremely positive and we believe that we will comfortably surpass the 900,000-passenger movement mark,’ he added. 

Economic reward

The cruise industry is worth €85m to the Maltese economy – €32m from passenger spending and €53m in cruise line spending. 

Bartolo expressed Malta’s commitment to the cruise industry, particularly fly cruising. ‘As a country, we will continue working to have more cruise companies homeport in Malta. We are committed to supporting the fly and cruise sector to see it grow further.'

He continued, 'It is important that we continue to work so that the industry remains based on sustainable foundations.'