Sliema festival celebrates Italian culture

n 2015 the tourists from Italy amounted to more than 289,000, meaning an increase of 10% over the previous year.

A festival being held in Malta over the weekend in Sliema celebrates the Italian’s fondness for food, wine and cinema.

During ‘the Extraordinary Italian Taste – Carpe Diem edition’, Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis welcomed the promotion of such events on the island, which "further promote Malta aims as an established destination of choice for all those passionate about food, wine and culture, among others".

“Malta is experiencing a significant growth in gastro-tourism which is being accompanied by a strong return to the origins of Maltese cuisine, if with strong influences from a much wider range of international cuisines, most significantly from the Mediterranean,” Zammit Lewis said.

“Malta may not be renowned like its larger Mediterranean neighbours for wine production, but Maltese vintages are more than holding their own on the international market, winning several accolades in France, Italy and further afield.”

Zammit Lewis outlined the current demand for Maltese wines, which are focusing on further improving their already excellent quality.

“Our rich, diverse and cultural offer presented in the form of events, arts and crafts, festivals, folklore and gastronomy has not only helped to differentiate us from our competitors, but has also helped us reduce the negative effects of seasonality. We must continue working on this cultural aspect and strengthen our image as a sophisticated destination that can offer the charms and attractions of a Mediterranean archipelago, underscored by a vibrant local community with a diverse culture and a very rich history.”

Citing the Italian tourism market, Zammit Lewis said that this market has the second largest share of our inbound tourism, such that last year, Italian tourists represented over 16% of the total inbound tourists that visited Malta.

In 2015 the tourists from Italy amounted to more than 289,000, meaning an increase of 10% over the previous year.

Nights spent by Italian tourists increased by 18.5% last year while expenditure amounted to €182.4 million, a growth of nearly 12% over 2014.

“This very positive trend registered from the Italian market is ongoing as during the first 6 months of this year more than 129,000 Italian tourists visited our country, an increase of 8.5% over last year. These tourists spent €68.6 million in Malta, an increase of 7.2%.”

“The Maltese Italian Chamber of Commerce, the Agricultural Department within the Region of Basilicata, and the Italian Embassy in Malta who joined forces to successfully organise this festival should collaborate,” the minister said.

At the official inauguration, flanked by the President of the Maltese Italian Chamber of Commerce Victor Camilleri, Ambassador of Italy Giovanni Umberto De Vito, Italian Assessore for the Basilicata Region Luca Braia and Mayor of Sliema Anthony Chircop, Zammit Lewis stressed his support in view of the promotion of the Basilicata Region and Matera 2019 as a mutual promotional bridge with Valletta 2018, both European Capitals of Culture.