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NEWS | Wednesday, 09 April 2008

MHRA report healthy bookings despite Sterling erosion

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) yesterday reconfirmed its concern over the article in the Travel Section of the London Sunday Times, saying it had made the necessary contacts with reliable sources to react to the erroneous conclusions drawn by the paper.
MHRA said the claim by columnist Mark Hodson of a 10% increase in prices of tourism related services, due to the introduction of the euro, was unfounded and without basis. “MHRA is convinced that no such increases have occurred for whatever reason, as clearly indicated in the recently published Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) report, which states that the 12-month moving average rate of inflation of the Maltese Islands stood at 1.2 percent whereas the annual rate stood at 4%, at the end of February,” the association said.
“MHRA is obviously concerned at the weakening of the Sterling which has lost 16% of its value against the Euro in the past few months. It has also however noted signs of recovery over the past few days. The UK is and remains one of the islands’ strongest markets and the weakening of the Sterling is not good news although this has to be seen in the context that all eurozone countries are affected to the same extent by this currency movement.
“This is therefore not a problem that is exclusive to Malta. Operators in the tourism industry need to be well aware of such currency instability when trading for the UK market in order to retain the necessary competitiveness with neighbouring and competing countries.”
MHRA said it had not reported any negative movement in bookings despite the movement in currency mentioned above. “On the contrary the majority of our members are reporting a healthy forward booking positions and MHRA maintains its previous forecast that this year will see an increase in business over last year. MHRA also cautions against unnecessary alarmist reports and would like to encourage all concerned to continue focusing on the key elements that drive demand for our islands. “


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