A recent travel industry survey has revealed that Malta could be the third most expensive holiday destination in 2007 among her direct competitors for British tourists - adding to the worries for the tourist industry on the island who have already seen visitor numbers slip this year.
Britain remains Malta's largest market for the Malta holiday and hotel market, and the news that next season's visitors are going to be paying more to visit Malta than her main rivals of Spain, Portugal and Greece has left the tourist industry worrying that they will be in a permantly declining market.
One local travel guide specialising in Malta describe the news as 'disappointing' and comment that a further decline in the number of visitors to the island could damage Malta's economy.
'Unemployment is running at around 8 per cent in Malta this year, and if there is any significant decline in the number of tourists visiting the island next year this could rise to near double figures, especially in the off-peak seasons when there isn't so much temporay work being offered. Tourism is a huge industry in Malta and the fall out of declining visitor numbers will be hard to escape from whatever industry you're in on the island'.
Earlier this year there were reports on the island that a major tour operator in the UK was considering withdrawing Malta from their holiday brochures - the reports were later denied to YourMalta by the company involved.
'When we spoke to tour operators they told us that there were no plans to withdraw Malta as a holiday destination', the guide say, 'And we can only hope that this rings true for 2007 and beyond as well'.
In recent years property in Malta has been a popular investment for overseas buyers, with prices rising on a consistent basis.
The rises have been steeper in the last couple of years, with Malta joining the EU in 2004 attracting more foreign buyers for properties on the island.
But with less holiday makers the number of properties being sold to overseas buyers could fall.
'Overseas property buyers don't often visit for a first time with that intention in mind', explain Tribune properties, a UK company specialising in property for sale in Malta. 'They normally visit first for a holiday, fall in love with Malta, and return on a second or third visit with the intention of buying a holiday home, or to move to Malta permantly. Today's tourist could be tomorrow's property buyer - but if the number of tourists falls, so do future property sales to overseas buyers'.
One benefit from declining sales to overseas investors could be a reduction in property prices for the local market. Some of the islanders are finding it difficult to get on the property ladder after repeated price rises, but if unemployment does increase then there could eventually be an oversupply of property, with prices dropping faster than anticipated.
One bright light in an otherwise gloomy outlook is that the long awaited low cost carriers are now expected to start flying to Malta from UK destinations later this year.
The introduction of the low cost flights to Malta could boost tourist numbers by ten per cent overall, and it is hoped in the Malta holiday and hotel industry that this could be a move to a sustained growth in visitor numbers, and not just a short term revival with an overall long term decline.