NEW YORK -- The addition of some deluxe hotels is giving Malta a
new look, reflected in the recent openings of the Hilton Malta in
Valletta, the Xara Palace Hotel in Mdina on Malta and the San
Lawrenz Leisure Resort on Gozo.
"In the last few years we have added 700 rooms to our five-star
hotel inventory," said Franco Debono, newly appointed director of
the Malta Tourist Office in North America, "which permits us to
target the upscale travel market and to make a big push for
meetings and incentive groups."
Standard low season double room rates average from $140 to $180
among Malta's deluxe hotels.
Debono said the convention market in particular will find Malta
appealing when a new convention and conference center opens next
year in the Portomaso waterfront development area, adjacent to the
Malta's newly approved cruise terminal, scheduled to be
completed by 2003, is another potential boon for tourism, Debono
said. He expects Malta to not be just a stopover destination, but a
departure and arrival hub for cruise line itineraries.
Debono added that Malta's inventory of hotels, which includes
brands like Crowne Plaza, Hilton, Radisson SAS and Westin, gives
the relatively small country, whose archipelago covers 123 square
miles, international exposure.
Though only 27,000 North Americans visited Malta in 1999, the
figure represents an increase of 5% over the previous year.
"This points to a continuation of the positive trend in arrivals
over the past five years when the numbers have more than doubled,"
Malta's primary tourist markets are the U.K., which sent more
than 400,000 visitors last year, and Germany, whose visitor count
Malta's attractions range from prehistoric temples (declared
Unesco World Heritage Sites) to grandiose cathedrals, early
Christian tombs and a 16th century walled city capital of baroque
architecture built by the Knights of Malta.
Cultural events include the village "festa" festivals blending
folklore and religion; the annual Jazz Festival (this year July 21
to 23) and the October through May theater season, which includes
performances in the historic Manoel Theatre in Valletta.
Malta Tourist Office
Phone: (973) 884-0899 or (877) GO MALTA