Since the government implemented its comprehensive and dynamic post pandemic tourism plan, Malta has carved out a proud reputation for its diverse portfolio of enjoyable events, including music festivals, sports tournaments, yachting and sailing galas and collaborations with major artists. Flagship sports and cultural events traditionally attract many international visitors of different origins, backgrounds and ages, with this August’s sponsorship of football’s inaugural Sela Cup tournament one such example. Held in Newcastle in England’s northeast, tourism chiefs secured the sponsorship rights to the 2023 edition that featured four teams from the key target markets of the UK, Italy, France and Spain.
“The Sela Cup was a perfect showcase, to co-brand VisitMalta, with the strong followers of New-castle United and the other teams, as well as a partnership with Sela which is a very strong name in the Middle East,” explains the MTA’s Micallef. “That was one of the initiatives that we took. There was a lot of exposure on TV, social media and elsewhere.
“The relevance of this niche of tourism is one which, with time, is becoming clearer,” Minister Bartolo adds. “This is a particular area that has already given us great success in terms of bed nights and marketing which is being transmitted overseas.
“However, we also need to look forward to more initiatives as thanks to this niche, we can develop more ways for our country to benefit.”
Music concerts by world-famous bands and singers, including superstars like Robbie Williams and André Rieu, as well as high-profile art and drama events, are also propelling Malta on to the worldwide map of cultural treasures.
“We try to have a balance and variety in the type of music and activity that we offer, so that we attract the full spectrum,” Micallef continues. “In the beach months, we have the young people and the teenagers on holiday in groups.
“There’s Isle of MTV, Summer-Daze, Village and World Club Dome, among others. They are for different age groups and different nationalities.”
As the aforementioned sponsorship of the Sela Cup high-lights, efforts to target the Middle Eastern market through partner-ships with local brands have been a frequent feature of Malta’s marketing strategies in recent years.
“We started promoting Malta in the Middle East about 10-15 years ago since Emirates started flying to Malta,” Micallef says. “We have continued increasing and keeping a constant presence in the market because it is our mission to diversify the source markets that we get tourism from. “This is the right time for Malta to increase our presence and our activity in the Middle East. In line with that, the industry, the government, and the MTA are working on attracting the right brands to alliance with.
“When we attract to Malta brands that are present in the Middle East, with the right type of brand, it will help us to pro-mote Malta better, with our target in the Middle East. We see growth coming in from there. It will not be very fast, but it will be steady.”
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