Tell us about your role at Malta Tourism Authority
I look after the MICE segments across the UK & Ireland, and the Malta Tourism Authority is all about promoting the destination. A lot of people either don’t know much about Malta or they haven’t been for ten to 15 years, and it has changed a lot in that time. There are plenty of things to do, which is great in such a small place so we are trying to re-educate people about the country.
What are Malta’s C&I strengths?
The flight access from the UK is extremely good, with Air Malta and British Airways flying daily all-year round from London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester. With a flight time of about three hours, it’s a short-haul destination, which means the cost of flights is short-haul, as well. From the regional airports, we’ve got easyJet and Jet2 – both are good with group policies.
We also have a lot of pan-European conferences and all the main European hubs are connected. The small size of the island is great. If you’re staying in Valletta or St Julian’s, you’re 25 minutes from the airport. If you’re taking a conference or an incentive to Malta for a few days and you haven’t got much time for long transfers, Malta is perfect.
We have everything a conference or incentive requires. Malta has 15 five-star hotels on the island, all with conference facilities, such as the Hilton Malta and the InterContinental Malta. The Mediterranean Conference Centre is located in the city centre with a great history.
What future developments can event planners be excited about?
Plans to build a new conference centre near to the St Julian’s area are in the early stages. There are talks with Corinthia Group and Radisson Blu to take down both properties in St Julian’s and build one big resort with two towers – one top luxury five-star and the other four-star ideal for corporate events.
Smart City is another big development. The first one was built in Dubai and the next will be on the coast of Malta. There will be office blocks, high-speed internet, conference facilities and a variety of luxury hotels.
In November, The Phoenicia, one of Malta’s best hotels will reopen. The five-star 136-room property has had an extensive refurbishment.
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