Holiday Inn set to land in Malta in 2024

Holiday Inn is set to launch at the heart of St Julian’s, adding to Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Eden Leisure Group’s growing list of hotels in Malta.

IHG and Eden Leisure Group are targeting an opening date at the start of 2024, after a management agreement between the two companies was signed in 2019, Eden Leisure Group CEO Simon De Cesare confirmed.

Plans for the 168-room hotel were “put on hold for a little while during the COVID-19 pandemic,” yet after building permits were granted in January, Eden Leisure Group has been “demolishing and excavating since,” Mr De Cesare said.

While Malta already has a high amount of bed stock, so much so that Mr De Cesare would “in most instances” advise against new hotels, this is Eden Leisure Group’s third hotel under IHG’s management, with the two companies already having the three-star limited-service Holiday Inn Express hotel, as well as the five-star luxury Intercontinental Malta hotel.

“This four-star Holiday Inn hotel would allow us significant flexibility and synergy between our brands and our management,” he added.

“The proximity of the properties and the economics of scale will be immeasurable,” Mr De Cesare continued.

Given the wide array of hotels in Malta available for visitors to choose from, establishing a key target market is a must, and while Holiday Inn is “traditionally a family hotel,” through the “synergies mentioned, it will also cater to the corporate market”, he concluded.

IHG Hotels and Resorts is one of the world’s leading hotel companies, with over 6,028 hotels from several brands currently under its control in more than 100 different countries.

Eden Leisure Group has been the “forefront of hospitality and entertainment in Malta” since the country’s early days of tourism more than 50 years ago, and now operates several entertainment and leisure venues, including the Eden Cinemas and the Eden Superbowl.

Mr De Cesare was named CEO of the company in 2018, using his vast experience in the entertainment industry to help Eden Leisure Group progress even more.

Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/holiday-inn-set-to-land-in-malta-in-2024
An incentive at the salt pans in Gozo

Here’s how we set up the Xwejni salt pans in Gozo for a French group of 300 people on the 6th of May.

The salt pans in Gozo’s northerly coast just up from Marsalforn are a transfixing landmark and of vital importance, upholding an ancient trade and skill, whilst harvesting one of Gozo’s important natural raw materials – Salt. The salt pans are ingrained in the Gozitan tradition of sea salt production, a custom that has been passed down within local families for generations. During the summer months, locals can be seen scraping off salt crystals from the rock face, all collected, processed and packaged by hand!

The Phoenicians formed these salt pans to create the highly coveted salt mineral. The pans were later renovated by the Romans and then propagated by the Gozitans. This site is believed to be the world’s oldest working salt pans. Sea water fills the crevices in coastline and is left to settle for eight days. Then, it is moved to smaller salt pans that are warmer and further away from the sea. The salt crystals give a reddish hue in the beginning of the drying process as they begin to form.

Xwejni’s salt pans chequerboard pattern and shimmering mirrored reflective pools are always a dynamic sight to behold. Spanning several kilometres across Gozo’s northern coast. Today they are divided between 3 salt farmers. The intricate formation of shallow square pools and larger feeder pools.

 

8 of Malta’s stunning wayside chapels

The Maltese Islands really do have the grandest of churches – we have one for nearly ever day of the year! But often, it’s in the simplest of chapels that we can find tranquillity and peace (not to mention some of the islands’ most spectacular countryside views). Here are 8 of Malta’s prettiest wayside chapels.

1. Chapel of St John the Evangelist, Ħal Millieri, Żurrieq
This chapel is located in the now uninhabited area in Żurrieq known as Ħal Millieri. The chapel was built around 1481 but became quite dilapidated over time, which meant it had to be deconsecrated. The chapel was later reconsecrated and was eventually enlarged in 1961.

2. St Paul the Hermit, Wied il-Għasel, Mosta
Located in a cave in Wied il-Għasel (Valley of Honey), this chapel has legends surrounding its origins and is mentioned in the first history book of Malta written by Gian Frangisk Abela in 1647. By time, the chapel was abandoned due to the challenging paths to get to it.

3. St Mary’s Chapel, Marsa
St Mary’s Chapel, commonly known as Ta’ Ċeppuna, is said to be a spectacular relic of Malta’s late medieval past, and honestly, it’s just that. This gem in the south of Malta dates back to the late 15th century and was used for divine service until World War II, when it suffered extensive damages due to various air raids.

4. St Mary Magdalene Chapel, Dingli
This Roman Catholic chapel is found in the limits of Dingli, overlooking the mighty Dingli Cliffs and, naturally, boasting impeccable views. Commonly known as il-kappella tal-irdum (chapel of the cliffs), this wayside chapel was built in 1646 on the site of an earlier 15th-century chapel.

5. San Pawl tal-Qlejja, Mosta
This wayside chapel is located in the Valley called Qlejgħa or Qlejja, hence the name. It is dedicated to the Shipwreck of St Paul and dates back to 1690. The current chapel stands on the site of an older chapel that was demolished.

6. Madliena Chapel, Swieqi
The Madliena chapel was once the centre of the community in the hamlet of Madliena, but was abandoned for years on end. Two years ago though, the chapel was restored, and mass is currently celebrated every Sunday for locals in the vicinity.

7. Sanctuary of the Nativity of the Our Lady, Mellieħa
It has been said that Saint Luke painted the figure of Our Lady on the bare rock face of a natural cave in Mellieħa. Well, many locals and visitors alike believe this story, with various pilgrims coming from all over the world to visit the shrine!

8. Wied Għammieq Chapel, Kalkara
Wied Għammieq Chapel is one of the more recent ones, having been built in the 19th century. The surrounding cemetery became the resting place for hundreds who died during the cholera epidemic in 1837. Some believe that the area of Wied Għammieq may very well be haunted as tragedy struck in the 70s when two brothers, two girls, and a construction worker lost their lives on separate occasions!

Article credits: https://www.guidememalta.com/en/8-of-malta-s-stunning-wayside-chapels-then-and-now
Relaxing of COVID-19 rules in Malta

From Monday 11th April, the Covid-19 requirements upon entering Malta, are as follows:

A negative PCR test or rapid test valid to enter into Malta – According to the notice both the Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test will be accepted, although the latter can be done earlier. For RATs, the test has to be performed “not more than 24 hours prior to arrival in Malta”. Those opting for the PCR test, which in some countries is pricier and the result takes longer to come out, can do the test up to 72 hours before arriving in Malta. Guidelines published by the public health authorities explaining the legal notice state that the RAT tests must be ones that are included on a special list by the European Council. The result must also be in English, the authorities note. If unavailable in English, an English translation certified by the laboratory or a medical doctor is to be presented. RAT tests are not accepted unless on the EU digital COVID certificate format. Results from self-testing are not accepted. The passenger locator form, used for contact tracing purposes, will still be needed.

A recovery certificate permits entry to Malta – According to the legal notice, a certificate of recovery is accepted for 180 days after a person first tested positive for COVID-19.

Quarantine free – Individuals travelling from Red Countries who have recovered from COVID-19 within the past 180 days, or those who can present a negative PCR test (no older than 72 hours), will be allowed to enter the country quarantine-free.

Air Malta inaugurates route to Spanish capital

It is the first Air Malta flight to Madrid in 10 years!

Air Malta celebrated its return to Madrid for Summer 2022. The flight to the Spanish capital restarted on the 4th April 2022 with up to three times a week operation every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

These services have been announced as part of over 125 return flights per week to 18 key European destinations which are being served by Air Malta this summer.

Read the full article here: https://whoswho.mt/en/welcome-to-madrid-air-malta-inaugurates-route-to-spanish-capital?fbclid=IwAR1e6Zcy1Wox3jaCSUDhV234wpm_3Xk4wxv1BU34PwWxuQk-j-E0InsXCn4\

 

Air Malta launches its summer 2022 schedule

Summer has finally arrived with Air Malta launching operation of its significantly expanded Summer 2022 flying program. The seven-month schedule, which runs from 27th March till 29th October, will see the airline operate 125 weekly return direct services to 18 key European Airports, across 10 different countries.

After an absence of over a year, Air Malta will be returning with a daily service to London Gatwick and with a three times a week service to Madrid. London Heathrow will be the most served route with 15 weekly scheduled flights, followed by Munich (12), Rome (10), and Paris with nine weekly frequencies on Orly and seven weekly frequencies to/from Charles De Gaulle airport. Amsterdam, whilst operating a daily service, will see this increasing to eight services per week during July – October.

This Summer Air Malta will be operating direct flights to Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Catania, Dusseldorf, Geneva, Paris Charles De Gaulle, Paris Orly, Rome Fiumicino, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Madrid, Milan Linate, Munich, Lyon, Prague, Vienna, and Zurich.

Read the full article here: https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2022-03-30/local-news/Air-Malta-launches-its-summer-2022-flight-schedule-reintroduces-flights-to-London-Gatwick-Madrid-6736241872

 

Malta Airport to invest €40m in new apron and taxiway

A new apron is to be developed at Malta International Airport to handle future growth, MIA said.

The €40 million project was given the go-ahead by the board of directors of Malta International Airport on Tuesday.

The Apron X project will see the development of an area measuring around 100,000 square metres, which is roughly comparable to the size of 14 football pitches. It will significantly improve the airport’s aircraft parking capacity and its ability to better handle mixed-fleet operations, particularly during peak hours in summer.

Apron X will be able to accommodate up to seven medium-size aircraft or three larger ones.

The airport has an additional 20 stands for aircraft on Aprons 8 and 9.

At this critical juncture, we have the responsibility to start taking long-term decisions, even if they may appear to be at odds with the current aviation environment, that will determine the future of the local tourism industry. Today’s approval of the Apron X investment is Malta International Airport’s strongest statement yet about its confidence in the industry’s ability to recover to pre-pandemic levels, as well as its potential to grow further and achieve new records,” said Malta International Airport Chief Executive Officer Alan Borg.

The project will include a taxiway to the new apron, and a staging area housing facilities for ground handling operations.

The Apron X project is also envisaged to support Malta International Airport in honouring its environmental commitments through the construction of a 10,000sq metre reservoir for better rainwater harvesting and the installation of LED floodlighting systems.

Additionally, the project will provide for preparatory works for the electrification of parking stands, in line with a European Union plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The project will supply parked aircraft with an electricity supply.

Works on the project are expected to commence in the coming weeks once the local Planning Authority issues a permit. While the company is eyeing the start of summer 2024 for the completion and utilisation of the first parking stands, the full project is expected to be concluded in 2026.

Article credits: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/malta-airport-to-invest-40m-in-new-apron-and-taxiway.936383
A step in the right direction for Malta’s Tourism Industry

Malta Tourism Authority welcomes the great news that the Malta International Airport welcomed a total of 418,473 passengers in September, which also marked the first time, since 1999, that September outpaced August in terms of passenger traffic, and the strongest month, in terms of passenger volumes, since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Seat-occupancy levels also remained below pre-pandemic levels, as airlines carried passengers to and from the airport at an average seat load factor of just over 70%.

The recent news published by the Malta International Airport is truly encouraging for the local tourism sector. Notwithstanding the challenging times, Malta managed to strike a balance between the lives and livelihoods of the Maltese people. We will continue working hard to assure that the hospitality industry continues to recover and assure that Malta becomes a home of tourism excellence for the years to come,” remarked Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Clayton Bartolo.

This is great news for Malta, especially given the circumstances which we all have had to live with in the past months, and naturally, it fills us, as an Authority, with a strong sense of positivity, coupled with the right amount of energy, to look forward to ending 2021 and starting 2022 with further positive results. I believe that our marketing efforts, together with the €20m-strong Tourism Recovery Plan which we have laid out together with the Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection, as well as, the excellent way in which the Health Authorities have handled, and are still handling the pandemic, all played a crucial role in the positive results which we have seen for September. This is also another example of just how important it is for all stakeholders to work together for the greater good, when faced with such an unprecedented crisis,” MTA CEO Johann Buttigieg said.

Malta International Airport also reported that the United Kingdom retained its spot as the top driver of passenger traffic as it continues its path of recovery, with over 108,000 passengers departing or arriving from this destination in September, followed by the Italian, German, French and Spanish markets.

A word of thanks must go to our marketing teams at Head Office, and our teams across Europe and the world for being resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, working closely with the management, as one big team, and adapting to the ever-changing situation of the pandemic across various countries and regions. We have used the pandemic to reinvent our marketing strategy, investing in digital media campaigns, to make people feel close to the Maltese Islands, even during the strictest of lockdowns. This has paid off, and is paying off, with the encouraging results which we are seeing. I am sure that with regards to the UK market, we will continue to see further improvement, especially with restrictions being eased further in the UK,” MTA Deputy CEO and Chief Marketing Officer, Carlo Micallef added.

Article credits: https://www.mta.com.mt/en/news-details/327
MTA Wins Big In London’s Travel Industry Awards

The Malta Tourism Authority has once again been awarded the ‘Tourist Board of the Year’ Award at the prestigious Travel Industry Awards 2021 by TTG held in London. This is the fourth time that this prestigious award was won by the MTA after successfully clinching the trophy in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021.

The Travel Industry Awards by TTG, in association with Virgin Atlantic, brought the travel community together to celebrate the businesses that have grown stronger through the Covid-19 crisis, and helped to highlight the most trusted travel brands for consumers.

In a year of setbacks and challenges for travel, companies and individuals have been tested to their limits. Yet rather than lose heart, they have faced the pandemic and fought back, supporting their customers, and proving their steadfastness, adaptability and innovative thinking.

“I am so pleased that MTA UK & Ireland were named Tourist Board of the Year 2021 at the TTG Travel Industry Awards this week. The team have worked hard with our trade partners and travel agents throughout the past 18 months to train them up on Malta, Gozo and Comino and what we have to offer their clients. Our work with our trade partners despite the difficult situation was ongoing, robust and agile and the team have overcome many hurdles to ensure our relationships stay strong and have endured the hard times. I could not be prouder that their hard work has been recognised and want to thank them for their ongoing dedication to promoting our beautiful islands,” Tolene Van Der Merwe, Director of the MTA UK Office stated.

“Having the Malta Tourism Authority receiving such an important award is of sterling news for the hospitality industry. Considering the challenges of kickstarting a tourism industry that was hit by the worst crisis in history, it can be said that tourism traffic to the Maltese Islands progressively improved week after week and numbers are growing still even though the traditional peak of summer has now passed. In the light of this encouraging results, I would like to congratulate MTA’s Director in the UK and her hardworking team for doing their part in strengthening Malta’s touristic prospects in the UK market. The perseverance and commitment displayed in the past months is a pure showcase of how the Malta Tourism Authority is turning challenges into new opportunities for the years to come,” remarked Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Clayton Bartolo.

“We are extremely proud of the UK market team in London and in Malta who have once again proven to share the same resilience, determination and work ethic which has become somewhat synonymous with the Maltese people, even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. The two teams have worked hard to keep Malta and Gozo on top of mind with the UK trade and public throughout the pandemic to make the recovery phase as fast as possible. It is these qualities that have made our UK office shine through once again during this year’s Travel Industry Awards. We look forward to continuing our work in the United Kingdom, which is Malta’s biggest market after the positive start that we have had, despite all the challenges,” Carlo Micallef, Deputy CEO and Chief Marketing Officer of the MTA stated.

Article credits: https://www.mta.com.mt/en/news-details/325
Air Malta launches new website and booking engine

Air Malta has re-launched its popular website airmalta.com, and upgraded its internet booking engine as part of wide-ranging initiatives to transform its digital ecosystem.

“With a fresh, clean, intuitive, modern design and navigation layout, the site is optimised for a better user experience with components of personalisation depending on customer preferences, such as country of residence and preferred language”, Malta’s national carrier said in an announcement on Monday.

The website and booking engine are now fully integrated with the airline’s customer relationship management platform giving Air Malta a 360-degree view of its online customers that will assist it in offering personalised offers and best fares depending on previous purchases and booking preferences.

The redesigned website offers customers an array of increased capabilities and services that include features to plan holidays, manage bookings, check-in online and buy ancillary items including inflight menu products and boutique items that will be delivered on board. The site also allows users to book car hire and hotel accommodation in Malta and throughout the airline’s network through its partners as well as holiday packages through ‘Air Malta Holidays’.

Commenting on this launch, Air Malta’s Executive Chairman David G Curmi said, “We are very excited to announce the launch of our newly designed website. After months of hard work and dedication, we are delighted to deliver a customer experience that is faster, more intuitive, easier to navigate, and more user-friendly. The website incorporates a refreshed new look and features which will enhance the overall experience whether accessed from desktop, mobile or any tablet device. This platform will now enable us to launch our first mobile app and a redesigned Loyalty Programme in the coming months.”

Air Malta’s Chief Commercial Officer Roy Kinnear added, “Online services have today become indispensable tools to showcase one’s products and services and facilitate sales. This project’s aim was simple: to offer an outstanding user experience when browsing and booking through our website. We wanted the site to be the best in class, with simple and clear navigation by personalising the user experience through appropriate content and offers.

“The website showcases the Maltese Islands through its ‘Discover’ section which is full of interesting articles and information about the Maltese Islands. This section also incorporates the digital edition of the airline’s monthly inflight magazine ‘Il-Bizzilla’ Mr Kinnear added.

Wayne Grixti, Air Malta’s Chief Technology Officer added, “Digitalisation and modernisation are strategically important for the Airline in its journey to become sustainable. Our main goal is to leverage technology to provide the Airline with a set of tools required to ultimately serve our Customers in a digitally secure environment and make their online experience unique. This digital ecosystem initiative is a proof that Air Malta’s mindset is Customer First”.

airmalta.com attracts around five million visitors every year, the national carrier revealed. The website is available in seven languages (Maltese, English, German, Italian, French, Russian, and Dutch).

The application of new technologies will facilitate future upgrades including a unified check-in experience, integration of the loyalty programme, online shop for ancillary products, a B2B portal and a mobile app.

Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/air-malta-launches-new-website-and-booking-engine

 

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