World-renowned for its stunning beaches and historic architecture, Malta is also the perfect host for conferences and events.
The Mediterranean island of Malta continues to grow in popularity among tourists and business travellers alike, with a record high of 2.6 million visitors, up by 14.3%, basking in the Maltese sunshine last year. In fact, tourist arrivals have doubled since 2010 and this upward trend is set to continue throughout 2019, with healthy forecasts and accelerated growth in new markets.
The island’s rich and varied history has given it a unique personality that courses through this vibrant country. It has a personality that shines through its naturally hospitable locals – full of creativity and joie de vivre. There is also the world famous architectural heritage together with a busy cultural and events calendar.
One stand-out example of Malta’s vision is the new National Museum of Art, MUŻA, which opened towards the end of Valletta’s glittering year as European Capital of Culture in 2018. Housed in a former auberge of the Italian- speaking Knights of St John, MUŻA is a fine example of retro-fitting where the multi-century layers of the building’s history blend seamlessly into a contemporary interpretation of Maltese culture through the ages. Within days of its inauguration, MUŻA proved to be more than just a museum, showing off its credentials as Malta’s latest multi-purpose venue, with a capacity of 130 delegates.
In Malta, old and new go hand in hand. The island that boasts the oldest free-standing temples in the world, which date back to 3,400 BC, is transforming its landscape. Sleek, luxury, high-rise residential apartments, marinas for super-yachts, an upgraded road network and plans for an underwater tunnel linking its sister island Gozo, all reflect an ongoing economic boom. Malta’s construction and real estate industry currently accounts for 10% of GDP and infrastructural expansion remains high on the agenda as demand persists fuelled by a considerable influx of expats working in the burgeoning iGaming and financial sectors.
Valletta is the epitome of regeneration, with an €80m project that transformed the city’s historic entrance, and the construction of a new parliament building, all designed by celebrated architect Renzo Piano. The new entrance complements the city’s baroque interior and highlights the fortifications’ industrial beauty. The ditch within the bastions, once used as the first golf course on the island, has recently been refashioned as a public garden and the latest al fresco events space, all framed by the picturesque Triton Fountain, the central focal point of the eponymous square outside the capital’s gates.
Beyond the 16th century fortifications, Valletta’s palazzos and grand old-town houses are being transformed into luxury, designer-led boutique hotels catering to discerning travellers who wish to immerse themselves into the best of the island’s busy arts and culture scene. These little gems are also ideal for small board meetings or rewarding incentive stays.
The perfect meeting place
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Malta’s flagship conference venue, the Mediterranean Conference Centre. This 16th century building in Valletta is the former hospital of the Knights of St John, its historic architecture offers a unique backdrop, while the latest technology guarantees unparalleled events. This November marks an unprecedented highlight as the venue will host VITORI performed by the legendary entertainment guru Cirque du Soleil.
Malta is home to 12 five-star conference hotels, many of which are affiliated with international hotel chains and 42 four-star properties offering a joint total of over 22,000 beds. Many are conveniently clustered within walking distance of each other, facilitating the accommodation of large groups across neighbouring properties.
Malta International Airport saw over six million passenger movements and offers direct air links to major European hubs, making it easy to fit into busy diaries. Business travellers in 2018 matched the same record high hit the previous year with Italy and the UK accounting for 35% of the market share between them.
Malta has a proven track record of hosting large-scale conferences, headline international summits and awe-inspiring events that showcase the expertise and creativity of local destination management companies and ancillary service providers. From hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting twice (2005 and 2016) to EU summits, annual conferences for pharmaceutical companies, gatherings for numerous FTSE 100 companies and product launches. It is also a regular host of the Malta Conference Foundation which invites Nobel laureates to discuss how to improve quality of life and stability in the Middle East. Meanwhile, quieter Gozo offers an exciting mix of adventure, diving, and rest and relaxation.
Perhaps most memorably, the island’s main port, Grand Harbour, was closed for one night to welcome four cruise liners carrying guests for an evening extravaganza along the entire length of the Valletta Waterfront. With limitless opportunities for show-stopping events in the most unique locations, Malta gives conference and incentives guests an access all areas pass to experience the island in a special way, designed exclusively for them.
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