Seatrade Cruise News is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Big days for EU’s smallest capital Valletta as it hosts MedCruise GA

PHOTO: Mary Bond
L-R: Airam Diaz Pastor, Carlo Micallef, Emre Sayin and Stephen Xuereb at the welcome reception for the MedCruise 52nd GA in Valletta
The MedCruise 52nd General Assembly opened tonight with a reception held at the Hilton Malta Hotel poolside attended by port members, cruise lines and media.

Against a backdrop of the sun setting on the Mediterranean Sea, Stephen Xuereb, ceo of Valletta Cruise Port and coo Global Ports Holding; Emre Sayin, ceo of Global ports Holding, Airam Diaz Pastor, president MedCruise and Carlo Micallef, deputy ceo and chief marketing officer of Malta Tourism Authority(MTA) welcomed everyone to the GA and to the islands of Malta.

A 7,000 year history

‘Welcome to Malta, a unique destination – long considered to be a microcosm of the Mediterranean, with 7,000 years of recorded history and a favourite with travellers seeking an authentic island experience, said Xuereb.

Valletta Port is a founding member of MedCruise with Valletta Cruise Port’s ex-chairman Joe Grioli, serving as the first MedCruise president.

GA host Valletta Cruise Port welcomed a record 770,000 cruise passenger movements last year and 340 cruise calls and Xuereb praised the support of key local stakeholders, including MTA, Transport Malta, Malta International Airport, ship agents and all service providers in creating a cruise destination that is responsive, reliable and committed to visiting guests. More milestones will be reached in 2018 too.

Sayin said GPH is delighted to be supporting the event with its strong links with both MedCruise and hosting port Valletta.

Part of Global Ports Holding's portfolio

‘Valletta Cruise Port joined GPH’s portfolio in 2015. Its strategic location, beauty of its natural deep-water harbour, its multicultural history and the concentration of tourist attractions all make Valletta one of the “must see” cruise destinations in the Med,’ Sayin commented.

Valletta is one of 15 ports under GPH’s umbrella, having just added the management of Havana, Cuba this week, noted Sayin, ‘and we have ambitious plans to enable our Malta facilities to accommodate Oasis class ships,’

Cruising an important contributor to the Maltese economy

MTA’s Micallef said ‘the cruise tourism niche in Malta and Gozo is growing significantly and cruising is an important contributor to the Maltese economy.’

He said tourism to the islands grew 15% in 2017 compared to a year earlier reaching 2.3m which is five times the size of the population.

‘We are expecting to reach 2.5m visitors in 2018,’ he added.

‘While cruise visitors are not defined as tourists for statistical purposes we know a cruise call is the perfect PR for our destination and generates of lot of tourism to the islands from visitors wanting to return and stay longer,’ Micallef commented.

Diaz Pastor welcomed MedCruise members to the GA, Malta and Valletta – ‘the smallest capital city in the EU’.

13 cruise line executives will join over 140 members and associates over the next two days networking and sharing expertise and knowledge during B2B meetings, plenary sessions and social events.

‘Valletta is the European Capital of Culture 2018 and also the capital of cruising over the next few days,’ the MedCruise president added.