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tourist admiring the tritons fountain

Marketing & Segments

Strategy 3.

To identify, measure and update the tourism market segments in which the Maltese Islands possess strongest competitive advantage and to focus attention on the continued strengthening and developments of these segments. Segmentation is a fluid process featuring a mix of established and emerging segments. 


As tourism becomes more sophisticated, so do the reasons why people travel increasingly become more and more fragmented. Far from being a homogenous activity, tourism is increasingly composed of a growing number of motivational segments which are, in turn, themselves further split into smaller micro-segments.

The existence of such segmentation enables the well-managed destination to successfully target those tourism flows which not only best match its offer but also enable it to maximise economic returns and extend the tourist season into a more even spread by minimizing the difference between peaks and troughs in performance.

A destination like Malta has been blessed with a high level of versatility in terms of offer which has traditionally enabled it to tap into a wide range of tourism motivational segments thereby making full use of its range of natural, man-made, historical, cultural, educational, land-based and maritime tourism offers.

Such versatility features an almost paradoxical relationship with the country’s small size by presenting a
relationship between a very small territory with limited tourist expectation potential and the surprisingly wide range of activities, products and experiences which can be enjoyed in the destination making its offer on par with those of much larger competitors and with the added advantage of accessibility due to vastly reduced distances.

Segmentation of the nature and reasons why tourists travel to a destination can be undertaken at various levels. Some are of a socio-demographic nature and include elements such as age groups, gender, areas of residence, levels of education, household type and size, household income and occupation. Others focus more on the motivational aspect and can include sub-divisions such as Peak and Offpeak, Business and Leisure, Active and Passive, Independent and Organised, Air and Sea, First time and Repeat and a host of other similar, generally opposite, sub-division.

However, by far, the most descriptive of the motivational segment methodologies, describe tourists in
terms of their main type of activity undertaken in the destination

In the case of Malta this can include a long list, foremost amongst which the following predominate:

  • Summer Sun

  • Sun and Culture

  • Winter Sun

  • Culture

  • Scuba Diving

  • English Language Learning

  • Business Travel including MICE

  • Arts and Entertainment including Music Events and Parties

  • Sports and Activity Tourism

  • Short breaks and City breaks

  • Weddings and Honeymoons

  • Wellness and Health, Medical and Cosmetic Tourism

  • Eco-Tourism

  • Religious and Spiritual

  • Two-centre holidays

  • Gastronomy

  • Luxury Tourism

  • Other Special Interest categories

Segmentation obviously also exists in terms of geographic source markets and can be subdivided into a number of categories such as short-haul and long-haul, neighbouring and distant, intra-European and international, EU and non-EU, directly connected versus markets requiring transit via other airports, established versus new and emerging and a host of other situations. This Strategy will not only monitor developments within mature or declining markets but constantly follow opportunities arising from new and emerging ones with the purpose of exploring their potential and linking such potential with connectivity, product requirements and targeted marketing activities.



To segment existing and potential motivational and geographic tourism flows in a way which distinguishes them from each other in terms of product and service requirements, compatibility, seasonal behaviour, lifecycle stage and growth potential. To evaluate existing segments in terms of their status and explore the feasibility of new and emerging segments for inclusion into the destination’s segmentation strategy.

Goals and Actions

To undertake a stocktake of existing Motivational and Geographic tourism sources.



Action 1.  To use NSO and MTA quantitative and qualitative survey data to provide an updated motivational and geographical data set breaking down inbound tourism into the relevant segments.

Action 2.  To investigate international best practice in segment analysis and apply it to the local findings.

Action 3.  To use this template for the regular measuring of such segments and publishing of such results.



To establish lifecycle stages of each of the existing motivational and geographic segments.



Action 1.  Undertake a lifecycle analysis for each identified motivational and geographic source market.

Action 2.  To repeat this analysis on a bi-annual basis.


To differentiate between rising and declining segments and analyse reasons behind their status and propose tactics for each.



Action 1.  To regularly study the status of each motivational and geographic segment from a life-cycle perspective, differentiating between rising and declining ones.

Action 2.  To highlight reasons behind each status and causes thereof.

Action 3.  To propose tactics in response for findings in Action 2.

Action 4.  To identify individual segment needs in terms of product development, support and marketing.


Identify new and emerging tourism sources and analyse their suitability for the destination
and devise relevant development strategies for them.



Action 1.  Follow international tourism developments to help identify new and emerging motivational and geographical segments.

Action 2.  Match the suitability of Destination Malta to each of these identified segments. 

Action 3.  Generate the relevant Plans for attracting the selected and identified segments.

Action 4.  Ensure that this process is carried out continuously to maximise on arising opportunities.

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