Nov 29 | 2018
Prehistoric temples, blue waters and hidden coves. The Maltese archipelago has an incredible history, landscape and culture all waiting to be discovered.
Ahead of their first time exhibiting at EMITT, we spoke to the Malta Tourism Authority to find out more about what this fascinating country has to offer.
What brings you to EMITT 2019 and what are you looking to promote?
We consider Turkey a source market with huge potential for growth. The twice-daily Turkish Airlines flight between Istanbul and Malta has encouraged us to invest more in this market. We recently appointed Manya Medya PR as the Malta Tourism Authority representative for the region, which has immediately embarked on a number of initiatives to improve our presence and show what the Maltese islands have to offer to Turkish travellers.
EMITT is an important platform to achieve further visibility and meet the right trade partners that can make a difference in increasing the number of Turkish visitors to the Maltese Islands. The direct flight frequencies and short flying time, the diversity of our product, our extensive heritage and the hospitality of the locals are our main USPs which we will be promoting during the fair.
Of course, the climate and the short distances to visit an attraction or one of the many events happening throughout the year are an added bonus. After all, time saved in travelling translates into more quality holiday time and is a monetary saving in itself.
Is tourism growing in Malta and what are the key source markets you are focusing on attracting?
We have been enjoying year-on-year record tourism figures for the last 9 years, reaching 2.3 million in 2017, and expecting to hit 2.6 million in 2018. These are big numbers considering the small size of the Maltese territory with its 400K inhabitants.
Nowadays we are directly connected to over 90 airports in 34 countries through the services of 32 airlines.
Our major source markets are the UK, Italy, Germany and France, which together represent half of inbound tourism figures. In recent years, we’ve been successfully active in various other markets and achieved considerable growth in nearby markets, Eastern Europe in particular, and as well as further afield such as the US. Our strategy is to be present in various markets, while focusing on promoting the low/shoulder months. In fact, our highest rate of growth was during January and February.
What tourism products are you offering for 2019?
Over the years, we’ve developed a number of sectors to enhance our product offer and therefore satisfying various travel motivations. Whether one wants to explore our award-winning diving sites or just sail to the Blue Lagoon, enjoy a firework display or a traditional festa, take an English Language Learning course or join the party scene, the options are plenty. Of course, our historic attractions, which span over 7000 years, are a key product offer - from Neolithic temples to medieval cities to a fortress capital city built by the Knights of the Order of St John, with remnants of other cultures from all over the place.
Overlooking the magnificent Grand Harbour, our capital city, Valletta, a UNESCO site, carries the name of its founder, Grand Master La Vallette, and is home to grand auberges, palazzos and the marvelous St John’s Co-Cathedral, a real gem in the heart of the city and an extraordinary example of Baroque art and architecture.
Following an eventful year during which Valletta was crowned the European capital of Culture, the city has become a lively modern city bustling with music, art and theatre activities as well as enjoying a wide range of bars and restaurants, great shopping, nice gardens with enchanting sea and inland views. A number of palazzos have been turned into exquisite boutique hotels which brought about a new and attractive accommodation alternative offer. The old and new have merged beautifully and the city now offers a unique experience to the visitor.
What differentiates Malta from other destinations?
Often referred to as the melting pot of cultures that ruled the Mediterranean Sea in different eras through the ages, the islands offer a unique experience to our most welcome visitors. Very few other destinations in the world, if any, enjoy the same concentration of varied sites, attractions and tourism experiences that can cater for practically all tourism motivations in such a small land area and at contained costs, offering the best value for both the traveller’s precious holiday time as well as money.
What are the most popular attractions or activities that bring people to Malta?
Our Capital city, Valletta, together with the three cities surrounding the Grand Harbour area, and the medieval cities of Mdina, in Malta, and the Cittadella, in the sister island of Gozo, are major crowd pullers. There are natural formations like the blue hole, a magnet for divers, the turquoise waters of the Blue Lagoon in the island of Comino, and the mesmerising colours in the Blue Grotto are very popular attractions.
For the ‘culture vulture’ the various Neolithic temples, particularly the Hal-Saflieni Hypogeum, the only Neolithic subterranean structure in the world dating back to 4000BC, is a UNESCO site which cannot be missed. The islands have also established themselves as an event venue with various music and party gatherings attracting thousands of visitors from all round the world.
Visit the Malta Tourism Authority at EMITT 2019 on stand A462, Hall 2.