For a small Mediterranean island, Malta punches well above its weight in the events market, with a long history of hospitality. Association planners can rely on the support of the Malta Tourism Authority, including help with bidding document preparation and site inspection arrangements. Additionally, the Maltese government has set aside a fund to support association meetings, and non-resident businesses can also reclaim the VAT.
Air Malta operates direct flights from many major European cities, including London, Paris, Rome and Brussels, with an average flight time of under three hours. Travelling to and from Malta has also become easier as it has signed the Schengen Agreement, lifting its sea and land borders to join the European Union's borderless area.
Where to stay
The Westin Dragonara Resort offers an intimate setting, with three outdoor pools and a private beach. Its 340 guest rooms are the island's largest, with rooms from £185 per night. The George, a stylish urban boutique hotel in St Julian's, offers 112 rooms and suites as well as a rooftop 'sky lounge'. Rooms feature a walk-in oversized shower, an LCD flatscreen TV and an iPod docking station, with rates from £106 per night. For a budget stay, the British Hotel in Valletta, overlooking the Grand Harbour, offers some of the best views in Malta, with single rooms from £49 per night.
Where to meet
The former knights' hospital, 'Sacra Infermeria' (Holy Infirmary), has been transformed into the Mediterranean Conference Centre, seating up to 1,400 guests in the Republic Hall. It is Malta's largest auditorium and is equipped with real-time interpretation facilities for six languages. Meanwhile, for large-scale events, the purpose-built tension-fabric structure, the Malta Fairs & Conventions Centre, can accommodate a crowd of 10,000 seated or 22,000 standing, and can be adapted to host activities back-to-back. Lastly, the Hilton Malta has the largest purpose-built conference facility on the island and can take up to 1,400 theatre-style in the Grand Master's Suite.
Partner programme ideas
Delegates can take a trip on a luzzu (traditional fishing boat) or a luxury yacht cruise, or sail to nearby Comino and Gozo, where groups can tour the volcanic landscape on a Jeep Safari. For the more adventurous, the underwater caves of Gozo are renowned among divers, while visitors can also enjoy trips on jet-skis and speedboats.
Gala dinner venues
For a unique experience, The Renaissance at Montekristo Estates can be booked as a private club for 500 seated guests or 2,000 standing.
It can be accessed from the estate's wine vaults via 'Calypso's Lair'. Alternatively, soak up the sun at Palazzo Parisio. This magnificent venue with its walled gardens can host up to 400 seated guests for a gala dinner or 1,000 for a standing reception.
Unconventional Malta, Special Interest Travel, On Site Malta.
The International Council of Nurses Conference was held in May; the 10th World Congress in Fetal Medicine met in July; while the 5th European Public Health Conference is in November 2012.
Malta Tourism Authority
Contact: Nadine Brincat
Tel: +356 22 91 52 06