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
450 years since the birth of Caravaggio
Today, 29th September commemorates 450 years since the birth of Caravaggio.
Michelangelo Merisi was born in 1571 in Caravaggio, a village near Milan. Troubled and afflicted painter, he was a genius who profoundly revolutionized the history of art, introducing the study of the truth and the violent use of light as a metaphor of God’s grace.
“Caravaggio’s revolution was to treat biblical and mythological subjects with realism. He completely eschews idealization. That runs completely counter to the tradition of his day. He is also a very great storyteller. He’s brilliant at digesting the stories and picking the moment that encapsulates the story”.
Dawson Carr, curator of Caravaggio Retrospective at the National Gallery, London
Some of Caravaggio’s works of art can be viewed at St. John’s Co Cathedral in Valletta.
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

 

Tips on touring the Blue Grotto

Over 100,000 people flock to The Blue Grotto on Malta’s south westerly point each year, mainly by boat, exploring the caves and arches beneath – and as soon as you clap eyes on it, you can see why.

Both the Wied iz-Zurrieq harbour and Blue Grotto sea caves are located on the coastline opposite to the small uninhabited islet of Filfla which is a bird sanctuary.

The location of the caves lead to the seawater reflecting shades of blue on the cave walls and ceilings. Several caverns also mirror the brilliant phosphorescent colours of the underwater flora, whilst other caverns show a deep dark shade of blue. Underwater, different colors of red, mauve, green, orange and yellow give an impressive picture to visitors.

Make your way down to the tiny harbour village of Wied Iż-Żurrieq, where tours to the Blue Grotto depart. Be sure to pull over at the parking lot and take it all in.

Boat tours of the Blue Grotto in Malta run frequently from Wied Iż-Żurrieq – depending on the weather of course. Head down the boat ramp and over to the kiosk to buy a ticket. From there you’re taken on a tour of the coast including the Blue Grotto. Tours last about 20 minutes and cost roughly €8.

Scuba diving on the nearby scuttled wreck Um El Faroud, and snorkeling along the coastline, together with rock climbing, are the most popular activities practiced here. No need for a boat, you can just jump directly into the water from there.

Two more restaurants awarded a MICHELIN STAR

The MICHELIN Guide Malta 2021 has just been released and two restaurants have been awarded a Michelin Star, bringing the total number of Michelin Starred restaurants to five.

The second edition of the guide features 31 restaurants spread across the islands of Malta and Gozo. The two new Stars are Bahia and ION – The Harbour. These restaurants join existing One Star restaurants De Mondion, Noni and Under Grain.

Five restaurants have also been identified as taking positive steps to work in a more sustainable way, and their entries in the Guide come with one-line descriptions of their inspiring practices. The restaurants highlighted for their ‘Initiatives’ are:

The Harbour Club in Valletta
Noni in Valletta
Briju in Gżira
De Mondion in Mdina
Tmun in Mġarr.

This new Guide builds on the success of last year’s first ever edition of the MICHELIN Guide to the islands of Malta and Gozo. There is no doubt that the standard of cooking on the islands continues to excite; five MICHELIN Starred restaurants out of a total of 31 restaurants is an impressive percentage. It’s also great to witness a growing awareness of positive sustainability practices and we look forward to seeing further development in the coming years.

Read the full article:  https://guide.michelin.com/mt/en/article/features/the-michelin-guide-malta-is-out-today
The Red Tower Opens After Major Restoration Project

Carried out in collaboration with the NGO Din l-Art Helwa, and funded by EU Funds and co-financed by the Malta Tourism Authority, Mellieha’s Iconic St.Agatha Tower, more commonly knows as The Red Tower, was reopened this week after extensive restoration on both its exterior and its interior.

This €306,000 restoration project is known as the Northern Coastal Watch and includes two other towers, one in Comino and one in Dwejra, Gozo, with a total investment of around 1 Million Euro.

The St Agatha Tower was built in 1649 by Grandmaster Lascaris of the Order of the Knights of St John, and is one of many defense towers which were built all over Malta and Gozo, hence its strategic position overlooking nearly all of Malta and Gozo. The Tower, which came to be known as The Red Tower, is under the remit of the NGO Din l-Art Helwa as from 1998.

Minister for Tourism, Julia Farrugia Portelli, speaking at the inauguration yesterday said that it is of great satisfaction that one of Malta’s Gems, which usually attracts some 30,000 tourists, has now been restored and conserved. She said that this project is part of the Government’s strategy, during the COVID-19 pandemic, to seize the opportunity, and enhance Malta’s Touristic and Cultural Heritage, through various restoration projects which are being carried out by the Malta Tourism Authority.

 

Find the full article here: https://bay.com.mt/watch-melliehas-iconic-red-tower-opens-after-major-restoration-project/

 

The traditional Regatta

The Regatta is a Traditional Rowing Event that has been held in Malta since the middle ages. The first professional Rowing Challenge started in 1955.

The traditional Regatta races are national events held twice yearly, that on the 31st of March on Freedom Day to commemorate the withdrawal of the British troops and the Royal Navy from Malta in 1979, and 8th September known as Victory Day. The latter has several roots as it marks the end of the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 and the end of French occupation on Malta in 1800, as well as the armistice of the Fascist regime in Italy in 1943, which saw the close of the Italian bombardment of the Maltese Islands.

The programme offers four to five hours of spectacle, with the best crews forming part of the rowing teams from the cities bordering the Grand Harbour. Cospicua, Kalkara, Marsa, Marsamxett (Valletta), Senglea, Vittoriosa and also Birzebbuga, participate in 10 races under two different categories using typical traditional Maltese boats like the ‘frejgatini’, ‘kajjikki’ and ‘dghajjes tal-pass and tal-midalji’. These boats were traditionally normal working watercraft which plied the local harbour.
Over the years these boats have evolved into racing craft with certain modifications. These are also examined and weighed before the start of and end of the races. The first three placings in each race are awarded a number of points and at the end of the Regatta, the club with the highest number of points, in the respective categories, is presented with the Aggregrate Shield.

In the past small flags in different colours were tied to the forestems of racing boats for purposes of recognition. The colours were allotted by the Collector of Customs. Colours have changed considerably over the years. Today the clubs can be recognised by their traditional colours which include Birzebbuga (Red-White-Blue), Cospicua (Light Blue), Kalkara (Green), Marsa (Red-Blue), Marsamxett (Valletta) (Yellow), Senglea (Red-Yellow), and Vittoriosa (Red).

The 1,040 metre race course is set up in the Valletta Grand Harbour where the magnificent Fort St Angelo provides an imposing backdrop to the sleek and colourful Maltese boats. A good crowd of spectators and supporters converge along the waterfront and the surrounding bastions to watch the races, which is sure to be a colourful and spectacular event worth watching. The races can be viewed from the water edge of the three cities (Birgu, Cospicua, and Senglea) or Valletta.

Malta Ranked Third Best Worldwide For Its COVID-19 Testing Rate

Malta is testing more people for COVID-19 per capita than all but two other countries worldwide, a global statistics site has shown, with a rate of 4.81 in terms of daily tests carried out per 1,000 people, as of 17th August. Only the Gulf nations of UAE and Bahrain score better, registering rates of 6.04 and 5.84 respectively, while New Zealand, the United States and the UK are ranked fourth, fifth and sixth.
Luxembourg is ranked seventh with a rate of 1.97, meaning Malta’s current testing rate is more than double that of any other EU member state.

However, Malta scores worse when it comes to the number of tests carried out per confirmed case, coming in 27th place with an infection rate of 72.7. To put it in perspective, New Zealand is ranked first, with 1,873 tests carried out for every positive case, while Myanmar and Latvia are second and third, with scores of 927 and 608.

Questions have been raised over whether it is fair for countries to blacklist Malta as a travel destination seeing as its recent surge in COVID-19 cases came hand in hand with a significant increase in testing. Malta has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, but no COVID-19 related deaths have been confirmed since 29th May.

The government has imposed a number of social distancing restrictions to contain the spread and has enforced the wearing of masks in a number of locations but the country hasn’t gone into quasi-lockdown as it did at the start of the pandemic last March. Meanwhile, several countries, including the UK, have forced people returning from Malta to go into quarantine, a major blow to the island’s tourism industry.

Find the full article here: https://lovinmalta.com/opinion/analysis/malta-ranked-third-best-worldwide-for-its-covid-19-testing-rate/ 
The local village festa

There is no better way to mingle with the locals than at the Maltese village festa (or feast). The Maltese love their patron saints and the village festas, being primarily a religious celebration, are held in their honour every year.

Each village celebrates a different patron saint or two depending on the number of churches in the locality. Each church is dedicated to a different saint. For this reason, some villages celebrate more than one festa per year.

Organised by the village band clubs and the parish members , the village festa is an event that all stakeholders work throughout the year to put together.

The competition between the band clubs can be quite fierce when it comes to the organisation of decorations and the fireworks shows, even if there is only one festa in the village.

It gets even tougher when the locality celebrates two different patron saints, each honoured by an individual band club.

The festas are held over the summer months. This is a time of great merriment for the local community coupled with a lot of traditions and customs and things can get really noisy and loud 😊

View festa calendar : https://www.visitmalta.com/en/village-festas

The 25 Top DMCs… and guess what?

As part of Preferred DMCs we’re so proud to be included once again in the “25 Top DMCs” global ranking, for the 3rd year in a row! Thank you Special Events Magazine and Website.. we’re chuffed!

We’re in this along with some other big names in the industry such as Metropolitan DMC & Event Management, VEGA Portugal, JAN-POL DMC Poland, Ambiance Incentives, Moloney & Kelly and ProMeet.

Let's go that extra mile!
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