Malta hosts travel and tourism conference

Annual conference organised by UK’s Institute of Travel and Tourism held in Malta, addressed by Maltese and British tourism ministers

Over 400 delegates are in Malta for a conference organised by the UK’s Institute of Travel and Tourism. The event is being co-hosted by the Malta Tourism Authority.

The annual conference, one of the industry’s most renowned travel trade event was today addressed by tourism minister Edward Zammit Lewis and his british counterpart, Helen Grant.

Highlighting the importance of tourism in Malta, Zammit Lewis said that the industry is “a major driving force in the country’s economy.”

He added that although Malta has seen the industry grow year after year, government and all stakeholders face a number of challenges, including seasonal imbalances.

“We must be pro-active and formulate long-term policies and a sustainable framework,” Zammit Lewis said, pointing out that Malta receives 400 tourist arrivals per 100 inhabitants, way above the European average which stands at 57 arrivals per 100 inhabitants.

Insisting that Malta should prioritise quality over quantity, the minister added that Malta “needs to implement policies which increase competitiveness and valiue added.”

Moreover, Zammit Lewis, said, government and the Malta Tourism Authority intend to position Malta as a cultural destination.

Zammit Lewis explained that Malta is currently directly connected to 90 destinations, with the UK being the largest source market, with over 33% of all tourists reaching Malta last year being British.  

The UK tourism minister Helen Grant also addressed the delegates, mostly representing British companies, which are in Malta for the three-day conference being held at the Hilton in St Julian’s.

Grant highlighted the efforts her government is undertaking to address the skills gap in the British market.

“Investment in skills is an investment in future successes,” Grant said, while explaining that the British government has launched a number of schemes, including an apprenticeship scheme in key areas of growth, cutting red tape and allowing companies to employ up to four persons on the minimum wage without paying National Insurance payments.

The conference will also be addressed by British MEP Nigel Farage, of the United Kingdom Independence Party and former Liverpool and England footballing legend John Barnes.