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

 

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.

Malta International Airport Figures Suggest Hopeful Turn Around For Tourism

Over 300,000 passengers travelled through Malta International Airport in July, giving some hope to the island’s struggling tourism sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month’s traffic through the country’s international airport totalled 311,692 passenger movements which subsequently recouped 39% of July 2019 traffic levels, new figures show.

This may not sound like much but it’s a steady increase that the country needs to slowly recover from the extensive economic damage that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the satisfactory numeral ascent, the numbers show that Malta is recovering at a slower pace than its Southern European counterparts whose recovery rate for July averaged at 57%, according to the Airports Council International data.

However, seat capacity stationed on routes to and from Malta was only 35.5% below 2019 levels. It currently stands at 52.6% compared to 87.0% in July 2019.

Travel opportunities also continued to improve throughout the month as Malta added two brand-new routes to the summer schedule; Chania and Cagliari.

July also saw the return of the United Kingdom among Malta International Airport’s top five markets following the easing of travel restrictions between the two countries.

An industry assessment issued by Eurocontrol on 22 July also found that European traffic was increasing with domestic travel still dominating passenger traffic.

The Malta International Airport is the island’s only air terminal and last year, it hosted more than seven million passengers, the majority being inbound tourists.

These figures come amidst a slight ease on travel restrictions that allows unvaccinated persons to travel to the island under the condition of a 14-day quarantine and the reauthorisation of fully-vaccinated English language students.

Read the full article here: https://lovinmalta.com/malta/malta-international-airport-figures-for-july-suggest-hopeful-turn-around-for-tourism/
6 of the most stylish places to stay in Malta

After months of longing to escape from our four walls and explore the world again, we’re looking forward to seeking out our next Instagram-worthy destination, and the beautiful, sun-soaked island of Malta is certainly high on our list.

The Maltese hotel scene hasn’t been resting on its laurels during lockdown, from the creation of a brand-new luxe spa at The Phoenicia to a freshly appointed Michelin star at Ion – The Harbour, Iniala’s restaurant. Here, we reveal our must-visit places to stay in Malta for a truly unforgettable holiday.

THE PHOENICIA
Sitting right on the edge of Valletta’s 16th-century city walls, the grand Art Deco Phoenicia has majestic, honey-hued limestone exteriors and is a favourite of the Queen. Interiors are a mix of modern (bedrooms have a fresh feel with gorgeous fabrics) and vintage, with high, ornate ceilings and chandeliers, in keeping with the Phoenicia’s 1930s origins.

Stroll the lush seven and a half acres of manicured gardens and order a poolside cocktail – the views over Marsamxett Harbour are unrivalled. The new 1,200 square-metre walnut timber and marble spa is a welcome addition, with five treatment rooms, salt room, sauna, steam room and long indoor pool.

PALAIS LE BRUN
At the tip of Valletta’s peninsula, on Old Bakery Street, is the opulent 17th-century Baroque Palais Le Brun. Rich with history, the 2,000 square-metre palace was once home to Claude Le Brun, one of the noble Knights of Malta. Even now, stepping away from the hustle and bustle of the street and onto the cool marble floors will make you feel like royalty.

The 28 bedrooms run the gamut from doubles with balconies or terraces right up to the suite with a hot tub. And just a three-minute walk away you’ll find the unassuming dinner spot that is the Michelin-starred restaurant Noni, a hidden gem.

INIALA HARBOUR HOUSE AND RESIDENCES
Home to Malta’s latest Michelin-starred eatery (the island has an impressive five in total) is Iniala Harbour House and Residences in Valletta, with its rooftop restaurant ION – The Harbour. Menus change regularly but always feature seasonal produce, and the sunset views of boats bobbing on the waters of the Grand Harbour are spectacular.

The hotel’s ultra-glamorous rooms and suites (of which there are 23 in total) are spread over four houses decked out in a heady mix of the modern and Baroque-style sweeping staircases and hand-painted cupolas. To up the luxury, opt for one of the suites that include in-room dining and private use of the hotel’s boat Spirit of Iniala.

DOMUS ZAMITTELLO
Overlooking Freedom Square right in the heart of Valletta, Domus Zamittello couldn’t be better placed for sightseeing – it’s just a few minutes’ walk from the Upper Barrakka Gardens, a former private garden of Italian knights, with its impressive harbour panoramas.

As you ring the bell and step inside the lavish 1630s-built palazzo, which has been meticulously restored to its former glory, you’ll marvel at everything from the intricately painted coffered ceiling in the breakfast room to the hand-painted details on the bedroom wardrobes and doors. If you book a room on the South Street side, you may even catch a performance from neighbouring open-air Pjazza theatre (although, outdoor events are currently restricted until September, so it’s worth double-checking the latest guidelines before you go).

CORINTHIA PALACE
The Corinthia brand may be growing across the globe, but its roots go back to Malta’s Corinthia Palace hotel and spa, the very first in the portfolio and one that the company still refers to as its ‘spiritual home’.

Located in the quiet, well-heeled area of San Anton, the former 19th-century villa retains many of its original features – think richly polished marble floors, balustrade balconies and neoclassical columns. You can take a dip in the Corinthia’s inviting split-level outdoor pool, or spend the day in the Athenaeum Spa – the ESPA treatment list is extensive.

THE COLERIDGE
Named after the area’s most famous former resident, the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Coleridge is set in an elegant Valletta limestone townhouse and has a calming feel. There’s also a focus on sustainability, including using locally sourced ingredients, eco-friendly cleaning materials and certified-ethical down pillows.

Erring on the bijou side, there are only six suites, ranging from the cosy Erksine to the Fayette penthouse – worth it for the Valletta skyline views and the huge hand-painted mural alone. Breakfast is served in the barrel-vaulted cellar.

Read the full article here: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/travel/hotel-reviews/a36430941/malta-tourism-6-stylish-places-to-stay-in-malta/?fbclid=IwAR03Zz5Pv6pLLOtXxLhv-H3arApUOFymElUsRzKS-4GZ-p3trULrv9W9oYc
Malta Updates its Travel Advice

With effect from today, the 14th July, and following a recent increase in imported cases, Malta’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, together with the Superintendent of Public Health announced that, English Language Learning Schools are to close their doors once again, until further notice.

Moreover, as to what regards incoming air and sea travel, it has been announced that as from the 14th July also, tourists, aged 12 and older, can only travel to Malta if they have a vaccination certificate, for two doses, and issued after 14 days from the date of the second dose (or single dose in case of Johnson & Johnson) which is recognised by the Superintendent of Public Health, namely:

Maltese Vaccination CertificateEU Digital COVID Certificate*NHS COVID Pass Letter/NHS App (UK)
Children from 5 years of age to 11 years of age, can travel, by presenting a negative PCR test, which has to be taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Malta, and given that they are accompanied by their parents or legal guardians, who in turn have to present the recognised vaccine certificate.

Children under 5 years of age do not need a PCR test to travel with their fully vaccinated parents or legal guardians.

Unaccompanied minors cannot travel to Malta.

The following certificates are NOT VALID for travel to Malta:

Certificate of recovery from COVID-19;Vaccine certificates for only 1 dose of a vaccine requiring 2 doses, also for people who recovered from COVID-19;Vaccine certificates with less than 14 days from the final dose.
In addition to the above, Malta’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, has confirmed that the AstraZeneca vaccine from the batch numbers: 4120Z001, 4120Z002 and 412Z003, also known as Covishield, will not be an accepted proof of vaccination for entry to Malta. He said that this is in line with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) advice which Malta’s Ministry of Health adheres to, adding that guidance will be revised periodically in line with the EMA.

*Switzerland has joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate framework, and therefore, the Swiss Certificate is also being accepted by the Maltese Authorities

 

Majority Of American States Will Be Moved To Malta’s Amber List For Travel

Malta will be reassessing travel restrictions from the United States according to each state, with the majority expected to be moved to the amber list. “Contrary to what has been done before, the United States of America isn’t going to be assessed as a whole country,” Health Minister Chris Fearne said. “Instead, we are going to assess each state separately.”

Fearne said that the majority of the states will move to the amber list with ongoing assessments being made with regards to those that remain on the red list for the time being. Previously, health authorities red-listed the US as a whole, meaning travel to Malta from the country was prohibited.

As such, people travelling from a state that is on the amber list will be allowed to enter Malta as long as they produce a negative PCR test 72 hours before boarding.

Another country that is being shifted onto the amber list is Israel – one of the few countries in the world to vaccinate around 70% of its population.

Read the full article here: https://lovinmalta.com/news/majority-of-american-states-will-be-moved-to-maltas-amber-list-for-travel-chris-fearne-says/?fbclid=IwAR3XtlPbzjBYKrQZ4Mrm8ALabWrLCywwPGxTAiYwEccfgTXQT3LtfEVXLdE
Emirates Airlines Resumes Three Weekly Flights To Malta Via Larnaca

Emirates has announced that it will resume flights to Malta as the airline expands its European network to a further 34 destinations.

The United Arab Emirates airline will be resuming its three weekly services to Malta via Larnaca starting from 14th July.

Flights will depart Dubai every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

The airline had stopped all flights to Malta almost a year ago in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in a number of flight restrictions and suspensions.

All local Emirates staff were made redundant at the time.

Passengers travelling to Malta will either have to present a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR before boarding.

Read the full article here: https://lovinmalta.com/news/emirates-airlines-resumes-three-weekly-flights-to-malta-via-larnaca/ 
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
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