Boasting a prestigious historical legacy, the Maltese Islands lead as one of the most desirable destinations for incentive travel, with a year round calendar of diverse events – including Malta’s biggest iGaming festival – SiGMA Europe. VisitMalta explores this culturally rich haven.
Malta is not just the home for SiGMA Europe, but also the roots of this important event. It’s where it all started. Annually, the event attracts over 20k visitors to the Islands and leaves an incredible economic impact. The gaming industry nowadays has become an important contributor in the Maltese economy, one that was previously heavily reliant on the tourism industry. Notwithstanding this, tourism is still an important backbone of the small islands, hosting well over 2 million visitors per year. Below are the reasons why it continues to thrive and attract visitors from all over the globe.
Situated at the heart of the Mediterranean, the Maltese Islands are versatile and dynamic, offering excellent flight connectivity and easy access from major European gateways within a three-hour flight. In addition to air travel, the islands are included in various cruise itineraries connecting them to Mediterranean ports and a daily ferry service to Sicily.
With venues and hotels catering to every budget, a wide range of attractions, and a unique cuisine, combined with 300 days of sunshine, the Maltese Islands provide the perfect setting for successful meetings. Due to their small size of only 316km2, the islands offer short distances, allowing for convenient transportation. No location is more than 50 minutes away, making the Island extremely easy to explore.
Malta’s history and culture are truly remarkable. With a rich heritage spanning over 5,000 years, the Maltese Islands have been influenced by various civilizations, including the Phoenicians, Arabs, French, and British. Malta gained independence on September 21st, 1964, and became a republic on December 13th, 1974.
Notably, Malta is home to the world’s oldest free-standing stone structures, the Megalithic Temples, which predate Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The islands boast three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the city of Valletta, the Megalithic Temples, and the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum.
The legacy of the Knights of St John, who ruled Malta between the 16th and the 18th century, is prominent. The fortified capital city of Valletta, built by the Knights after the Great Siege of 1565, showcases 16th-century buildings known as Auberges. The iconic eight-pointed Maltese Cross is another symbol associated with the Order of St John.
Exploring the sister islands of Gozo and Comino is also a must. Gozo offers a rural and relaxed atmosphere, along with historical sites and breath-taking panoramas. It is a wonderful location for outdoor wellness activities whilst also a haven for Farm to Fork experiences. Comino, situated between Malta and Gozo, is renowned for its exceptional diving, snorkelling, and boating experiences.
Visitors can indulge in a diverse culinary experience, ranging from traditional Mediterranean cuisine to fine wines produced in local vineyards. Traditional Maltese cuisine is a true reflection of its history, with a mish mash of Arabic, French, British and undoubtedly Italian influences. There’s nothing like it anywhere else. Malta is also recognized on the Michelin map, with six one-star restaurants and four establishments awarded Bib Gourmands.
Malta’s M.I.C.E. infrastructure is top-notch, with a solid range of hotels from international chains to boutique establishments. Most five-star hotels have in-house conference facilities and dedicated MICE staff. The islands boast five convention centres, including Hilton Malta Conference Centre, InterContinental Arena Conference Centre, Oracle Conference Centre, Malta Fairs & Conventions Centre (MFCC), and the Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC) in Valletta.
As a destination for incentive travel, the Maltese Islands offer a compact size and a diverse array of activities. From wellness experiences to themed beach dinners, quad bike and jeep tours, speedboats, sailing regattas, and more, there’s something for everyone.
Communication is seamless in Malta, with Maltese and English as the official languages. English serves as the official business language. The Maltese language, a semitic language which is based on Arabic and influenced by Italian, French and English, has a distinct character and unique pronunciations. Service providers are multi-lingual and can speak fluently a number of additional languages.
The Maltese Islands offer a year-round calendar of events and festivals, providing unique and culturally immersive experiences. The vibrant nightlife scene caters to various preferences, from clubbing to classical orchestras. In addition, in recent years, Malta has become a popular filming location for major productions, including Jurassic Park Dominion and the renowned series Game of Thrones.
The Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) is committed to assisting event and meeting organizers providing the necessary support. The VisitMalta Incentives & Meetings team in Malta, along with those in various overseas locations are available to offer information, impartial advice, bidding support, audio-visual tools, promotional materials, and other assistance.
“The Maltese Islands may be small but they do pack a punch. Both visitors and planners are always positively surprised at how much is on offer, and we’re really happy with the way the industry continues to develop its offer for international meetings and events. Contact us to start planning your event in Malta today!” says Christophe Berger, Director VisitMalta Incentives & Meetings.