Tourstat data for May estimates inbound tourists at 133,659, an increase of 2.5% over last year. Total nights spent during the corresponding period rose by 12.1%, bringing the average length of stay to 7.5 nights. During the month under review, 114,687 tourist trips were carried out for holiday purposes, while a further 10,881 travelled on business. Holidaymakers comprised the absolute majority of inbound tourists, and registered an increase of 7%. However, a notable decrease was observed among those travelling for business purposes. In line with previous months, 87% of inbound tourists came from EU states and in particular from the euro area. Tourists from outside the EU increased over last year, reaching 17,936. The main market for inbound tourists remained the UK, with a share equivalent to 30% of the total. Second in line is the Italian market, with a share of 12%. The British market registered a decrease of 4%, while Germany and Italy experienced increases of 14 and 19%, respectively. During May, inbound tourists spent a total of over one million nights in Malta, up by 12% when compared to 2011. In absolute terms, the majority of guest nights were spent in collective accommodation establishments and in particular, in hotel accommodation. Nonetheless, a substantial increase of 30% in the use of private accommodation was recorded.(independent.com.mt) Tourism is an important thing for Malta.
European Parliament sinks ACTA treaty
Unprecedented public activism helped ensure the European Parliament’s rejection of the controversial ACTA treaty. Just 39 MEPs bucked the trend to vote in favour of it. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement will not be ratified in the EU after it was overwhelmingly rejected by the European Parliament yesterday afternoon. Just 39 MEPs voted in favour of the treaty, leading rapporteur David Martin to point out that it was thus the least popular proposal ever made by the European Commission. A staggering 478 MEPs voted against ACTA, while a further 165 abstained from voting. The vote also marked the first time that MEPs exercised their right to reject an international trade agreement, a right granted by the Lisbon Treaty. The public reaction to the treaty was also unprecedented, prompting Mr Martin to give credit to anti-ACTA campaigners after the vote. The centre-right European People’s Party proposed delaying the vote until the European Court of Justice issues a ruling on the treaty, but this proposal was heavily rejected by other political groups. A substantial proportion of EPP MEPs subsequently abstained from voting, although others – including the two Maltese representatives – rejected the treaty outright. All six Maltese MEPs ended voting against the treaty. The four Labour MEPs had expressed opposition to the treaty since Malta and 21 EU states signed it last January, the two Nationalist MEPs, Simon Busuttil and David Casa, had been more supportive of ACTA, but stressed that they would not back the treaty unless they were completely certain that it would not unduly impinge on the freedom of internet users. “Today we acted consistently with our declaration of last January. After six months of serious examination of the text of the agreement in the European Parliament, we came to the conclusion that the current text does not offer sufficient safeguards on internet freedom,” the two MEPs said in a joint statement after the vote.(independent.com.mt) The decision made at European level now.
62 dead from drugs in 15 years
President raises questions. Sixty-two young people have died from drug overdoses in the past 15 years and there appears to be no let up in the consumption of drugs, Caritas Director Mgr Victor Grech said this evening. Speaking at the graduation of a group of 22 young men and women who have completed a rehabilitation programme at San Blas, Mgr Grech said drugs remained accessible and there were hundreds of children and youths who were taking them. "The solution should not be sought in liberalisation of drugs or in the decriminalisation of cannabis, unless we want Malta to become a Mecca for drug addicts". Furthermore, Mgr Grech said, he believed in rehabilitation rather than incarceration for drug addicts. His biggest concern, Mgr Grech said, was how, for many youths, drugs and alcohol had become a major part of their recreation, especially during weekends. This was a culture of alienation and escapism. Many took trips from which they did not return. He noted that according to the latest Espad figures, the consumption of alcohol among 16-year-olds was 86% in the past year when the European average was 79%. Regular use of inhalants in Malta was 14% when it was 9% in Europe. Drunkenness over a 30-day period was 20% in Malta and 17% in Europe. Was society as a whole to blame for not taking an early stand against this threat, or as this a case of ignoring the problem because 'this will not happen to me? Drug dependence, Mgr Grech said, was a complex issue and an addict's decision to stop was difficult because an addict was overcome by compulsion which affected his capacity to take responsible decisions. Rehabilitation was also no easy process, because it not only meant stopping dependence on drugs, but changing a lifestyle so that the person could function in a responsible, productive manner in the family and society.(timesofmalta.com) It is a low figure compared to other EU countries.
Source: Yahoo actualités