Exclusive insight: Barceló Hotel Group’s vision for its seafront luxury hotel in Sliema’s Fortina

Exclusive insight: Barceló Hotel Group’s vision for its seafront luxury hotel in Sliema’s Fortina

The recent unveiling of Fortina’s €35m revamped 5-star hotel has injected a touch of dynamism to the Tigné seafront. Operated by the prestigious hotel chain Barceló Hotel Group – one of the fastest evolving, award-winning hotel brands – the Sliema property is in the hands of GM Koldo Salazar who is on a mission to deliver a client-centric, memorable experience.

Here, WhosWho.mt catches up with the General Manager to get a better understanding of the company’s vision for Malta and the type of tourists it wants to attract.

What does Barceló bring to the island to make it unique?

Barceló Hotel Group is currently the second largest hotel company in Spain and one of the 30 largest in the world in terms of number of rooms (+62,000), a clear sign of the trust and commitment the brand has earned.

As a Group, Barceló is also strongly committed to sustainability. Wherever we go we actively contribute to the development of a more regenerative tourism, while remaining faithful to our values based on a deep respect for the destinations we operate in.

What type of tourist do you want to attract?

We believe Barceló Fortina Malta is a unique destination for cultural travellers and getaway tourists. Overlooking the coveted view of the island’s capital Valletta, the hotel is strategically located along the seafront within walking distance of top restaurants, designer outlets and popular nightspots. It’s also a five-minute ferry ride away from the 450-year-old fortified capital, providing business travellers with the opportunity to still squeeze in a quick visit in between their busy schedule.

Last year, Malta was compared to “Ibiza, but cheaper”. With your finger on the pulse of both the Maltese and Spanish tourism markets, what do you think of these statements?

Each island is unique. Ibiza and Malta have their own geographical, social and cultural identities, so it would not be a fair comparison. The tourist attractions of both go far beyond sun, beach and nightlife… and we plan to be part of a memorable experience.

What do you think are the challenges facing Malta?

Tourists are becoming more and more demanding; they are more concerned about healthy habits, digitisation and quality experiences.

If you want tourists to choose your services and products, you have to offer them the best and most competitive experiences in the market; and to do this, the first step is to get to know your customers better, their expectations, their preferences and their ways of understanding travel. To do this, Barceló Hotel Group applies its client centric strategy, where the guest is the centre of the entire customer journey and their happiness, the main motivation to continue improving all the services we offer.

In terms of sustainability, the creation of responsible tourism alternatives is another of our challenges: to make hotels more sustainable and have a positive impact on destinations. We aim to enhance the natural heritage of the places where we are located, contract experiences directly from local suppliers and focus on local gastronomy in the restaurants of our hotels.

From an outsider’s perspective, what do you think the island’s strengths are?

Although Malta is a small island, it is steeped in history and has several attractions and hidden gems to explore.

In addition to its clear waters and choice of rocky or sandy beaches, there is also an amazing variety of natural landscapes, including spectacular cliffs and secluded coves to discover…

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