Wednesday, October 18, 2017
   
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Huge Potential in Northern Ireland for Malta, Says Tourist Chief

There is massive potential for holiday bookings to Malta from Northern Ireland, according to the Director UK & Ireland, Malta Tourist Office, Peter Vella, speaking in Belfast.

Low cost airline Ryanair launch a new year-round twice-weekly service to Malta's capital Valletta at the end of October from Belfast International Airport, while Jet2.com are due to launch a weekly (Thurs) Belfast service in late spring - at the beginning of the 2018 summer season.

Ryanair's flights are on Fridays and Monday.

“The UK is our biggest visitor market. At the moment, we have around 550,000 holidaymakers a year from the UK, but only a half of one per cent are from Northern Ireland," he told Northern Ireland Travel News. "But that of course is because we have no direct flights from Belfast since easyJet ended their service in 2015.

”Now we will have seats on three flights weekly in 2018 so there is a huge potential for growth in visitors from the Province. That is why I am here, to get Malta's tourist message across to potential holidaymakers, the media and local travel agents.”

The Malta Tourist Board UK chief was at Belfast's Michelin-starred Ox restaurant to meet travel journalists and to extol the ever-lengthening list of tourist 'draws' to the Mediterranean isle, dubbed 'the George Cross island' because of its heroic defence against the Axis powers in WWII.

Certainly, next year couldn't be a better time to visit Malta, with Valetta becoming European City of Culture 2018.The city will take on the title in just a few months, an accolade which recognises Valletta's role in driving cultural, social and economic regeneration across the Maltese archipelago through collaboration, exchange and innovative practice.

Valletta 2018 will be officially launched on January 20, 2018, with the city’s four main squares providing backdrops to acrobats, dancers and digital artistic projections and celebrated with more than 400 cultural activities across Malta's three islands throughout the year.

Contrary to a commonly held view, Malta is not a destination soley frequented by retired couples and senior citizens. Indeed only 14 per cent of visitors are in this age range. It is a popular island for younger people and young families with many concerts and festivals held each year. The climate too makes it a year-round destination and the new Ryanair flights perfect for short breaks during the winter months.

Malta is an archipelago in the centre of the Mediterranean comprised of three main islands – Malta, Comino and Gozo - and famed for its history, culture and temples dating back over 7,000 years. In addition to its fortresses, megalithic temples and burial chambers, Malta is blessed with nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine annually. It is part of the EU and 100 per cent English speaking.

The archipelago is famous for its diving, which attracts aficionados from around the world, whilst the nightlife and music festival scene attract a younger demographic of traveller. The flight to Malta takes less than four hours with just a 15 minute transfer from the airport to the capital. It has also one of the most panoramic approaches of any airport in the world.

As well as the two new flights from Belfast, there is a Ryanair service from Dublin and low cost airline and Air Malta flights from major airports in Mainland UK. For more info on Malta log on to maltauk.com.

 

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