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.

The Mercure to open this September in St.Julian’s

New to the Maltese Islands, the Mercure St. Julian’s Malta is located a few meters from the lovely Spinola Bay and is set to open its doors in September.

Mercure St. Julian’s Malta is a stylish and contemporary hotel with a local Mediterranean touch.​

All year long, each and every one of our experienced members of staff is dedicated to offer you a locally inspired service that will make your stay unique.​

Boasting 113 soundproof rooms, 25M2 or larger (including Superior, Privilege and Suites with free WiFi, smart TVs, tea and coffee making facilities, minifridge), rooftop pool and a gym.​

Rooms : 113​
Meeting room : up to 12 pax​
Dining : 1 main restaurant and 1 bar ​
Pools rooftop with bar area and bay views​

Celebrating the re-opening of the airport

To celebrate the Malta International Airport’s re-opening to commercial flights, a special event has been organized today, together with Sound Salon, G7 Events and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.

“Sounds like Malta” will feature electronic artist and disc jockey LEX together with their airport ambassadors Joe Roscoe and Nicola Said, the renowned local soprano.

Let’s travel again… safely!

Malta’s airport is set to partially reopen on 1st July and fully on 15th July, but the travelling experience will change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In line with the recommendations of local and international authorities,  the Malta International Airport shall be introducing the necessary measures, invested in new technologies, and re-trained their front-liners to allow you to feel safe and secure every step of the way from check-in to boarding.

Below are a list of efforts taken to safeguard passengers to and from Malta:

1. Masks or visors are obligatory

Masks or visors must be worn at all times inside the terminal, with exceptions made for children under six years old and people with a valid medical condition. The airport recommends that you change your mask every four hours and that you pack enough masks in your hand luggage for your entire trip, including the time spent on the plane and the airport of destination. Refuse containers for the disposal of face masks and gloves will be provided.

2. Rigorous cleaning procedures

Airport staff will clean and disinfect the terminal more frequently and intensively, especially surfaces that are regularly touched such as buttons and handles, while alcohol-based hand sanitisers will also be available at strategic spots. The airport also recommends that you being your own 100ml hand sanitising gel bottle with you, which can also be carried through security.

3. No non-travellers allowed inside

Only travellers will be allowed inside the airport, which means that any goodbyes must be said outside. Exemptions will be made in special circumstances, such as for people who need to drop off or pick up a minor or a person with reduced mobility.

4. New social distancing signage

Signage and floor markings will be installed at check-in, security, departure, arrival and baggage reclaim areas and at outlets and restrooms to ensure passengers keep two metres away from each other. The airport is advising passengers to arrive at least two hours before their flight and has warned that security checks and boarding processes may take longer than usual.

Seating has also been reorganised for the purposes of social distancing, with unavailable seating clearly marked.

5. No smoking allowed

Smokers must take their last cigarette before their flight outside the terminal because smoking has been banned on the terraces. This is in line with health guidelines that forbid smoking outdoors at restaurants and bars on the grounds that people are being encouraged to sit outside where possible and that they therefore shouldn’t be exposed to cigarette smoke.

7. A new airport ‘care team’

A number of airport staff have been assembled and trained to act as a ‘care team’. Wearing easily identifiable light blue vests, their job will be to roam the airport, advise passengers on the new rules and ensure said rules are being observed.

8. Thermal screening cameras and tech to detect large groups

The airport has invested heavily in new technology, with thermal screening cameras intended to detect any passengers having a high temperature, over and above the temperature checks that will be carried out before they enter the airport. Meanwhile, agglomeration detection technology will alert the airport in real-time if passengers gather in large groups. Malta recently removed all limitations on public gatherings and the airport hasn’t yet explained how this new technology will be used.

9. New rules for the La Valette lounge

Members of the VIP La Valette lounge must book their stay here at least 24 hours before their trip so as to allow the airport to ascertain that social distancing requirements can be met. Guests can take off their masks or visors while at the lounge, while buffets have been replaced by waiter service. Newspapers, magazines and iPads will be unavailable to limit passengers’ contact with surfaces.

The airport will partially reopen on 1st July, with flights operating to and from Italy (except Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, and Piemonte), France (except Ile de France), Spain (except Madrid, Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha, and Castilla y Leon in Spain), Poland (except Katowice), Iceland, Slovakia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Switzerland, Estonia, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Luxembourg, Germany, Czechia, Ireland, and Finland.

Travellers arriving directly from the countries and regions on this list will not be required to observe a 14-day quarantine but will be asked to declare that they had lived in the country of origin for at least four weeks prior to travelling. Guests will also be asked to fill in a passenger locator form, which would enable the health authorities to trace them swiftly should the need arise.

On 15th July, Malta’s airport is set to open to all destinations without restrictions.

Introducing the new luxury bay suites at The Westin Dragonara

The Westin Dragonara Resort now has 66 Bay Suites in total , all boasting spectacular sea views and with a floor space of 90m2 for 1 bedroom suites and 120 m2 for 2 bedroom suites.

All suites have similar décor based on blues and earth colours symbolic with the Mediterranean whilst the ground floor suites also have plunge pools.

Malta Will Lift Public Health Emergency On 30th June

Malta has set a date for when it will lift its public health emergency, along with other COVID-19 restrictions.

A legal notice signed by Health Minister Chris Fearne, along with Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci, has set 30th of June as the date when Malta will officially repeal its public health emergency.

The legal notice also repeals the closure of schools, suspension of organised events and the 75 person ban on public gatherings.

However, schools are expected to reopen in September as usual.

MALTA International Airport to open its doors soon

The airport will partially reopen on 1st July, with flights operating to and from Italy (except Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, and Piemonte), France (except Ile de France), Spain (except Madrid, Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha, and Castilla y Leon in Spain), Poland (except Katowice), Iceland, Slovakia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Switzerland, Estonia, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Luxembourg, Germany, Czechia, Ireland, and Finland.

Travellers arriving directly from the countries and regions on this list will not be required to observe a 14-day quarantine but will be asked to declare that they had lived in the country of origin for at least four weeks prior to travelling. Guests will also be asked to fill in a passenger locator form, which would enable the health authorities to trace them swiftly should the need arise.

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