Excellent facilities, year-round good weather and convenient connections to Europe’s major airports make Malta a dream destination for incentive planners and conference organisers: Showcase your brand under medieval vaults, come together at the company’s retreat by the waters’ edge, flaunt your black-tie-look at a gala under the stars, and treat the travelling press to a scuba-diving session. Conventions Malta, a new governmental entity, has adopted an ‘access-all-areas-strategy’, meaning any location can be transformed into a formidable event space. The organisation is also looking into the development of large-scale conference facilities as events are seeing increasingly larger number of participants.
Some 80,000 delegates visit the island each year. The EU, the Commonwealth, WHO, UNDP, Microsoft, IBM, Bayer, Roche, Cable & Wireless, Cadbury, Sony, Dell Computers, Eriksson, UPS, Opel, Deutsche Telecom and many others have already chosen Malta as their meeting place, and more are actively considering a Malta event.
With hundreds of years of experience as a meeting venue, Malta comprises everything you need and more. Historic venues, open-air locations and large, fully equipped conference rooms are just some of the options available. Renowned for its high quality venues for seminars, workshops and conferences, Malta also offers some of the most luxurious, yet affordable accommodation. The country’s compact size also allows for groups and delegates to enjoy leisure and team building activities, such as biking, rock climbing, diving or sailing, during a visit. All trips can be organised by one of the many destination management companies available on the island, to ensure a smooth, enjoyable and fun-packed stay.
Big & Boutique
As early as the 16th century Malta played host to the Knights of Malta, whose architectural legacy has provided the island with unique conference venues, helping the island to become a key destination for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE). The island caters for anything from an eight-strong board of company directors seeking upscale accommodation and elegant entertainment, to a sales meeting for 1,000 company representatives or an annual general meeting of 2,500 people. Some of the most recent and notable events include the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the Valletta Summit, both held in 2015. Some of the biggest events include the 5th European Public Health Conference in 2012, which brought some 1,200 public health professionals from 60 countries to the island, while the Swedish natural cosmetic company Oriflame provided Malta with its biggest conference to date in 2010, hosting some 4,200 representatives.
Venues to Remember
Event organisers can make the most of Malta’s 7,000-year history with its scores of cultural and architectural venues, any of which would be ideal to turn a usually routine occasion into a truly memorable event. A particular favourite is the 16th century Mediterranean Conference Centre, which served as a hospital during the era of the Knights of St John and can host 1,500 guests at gala dinners or 4,000 visitors at standing receptions. Many of Malta’s magnificent castles, stunning palazzos and impressive forts, some of which have been used as film locations for movies such as ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and ‘Gladiator’, make it easy to add a luxurious atmosphere and special accent to any function. For a more contemporary note, available venues include theme parks, marinas, luxury yachts and exclusive sea-front properties. Most public spaces can be used for events and launch parties; receptions and dinners have already taken place at beaches, museums and village squares. The Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre (MFCC), located near the ancient walls of Mdina, is by far the country’s largest venue with a capacity of 10,000 people.
Many four- and five-star hotels are able to offer the highest level of accommodation, facilities and services to visiting delegates. The country has some 4,000 rooms in five-star hotels alone. Major brands such as Hilton, Westin, Radisson and Intercontinental all have hotels in the beachfront city of St Julian’s, giving organisers a choice of modern amenities, including meeting rooms, conference facilities and up-to-date technology. The five-star hotel Xara Palace and Xara Lodge in Rabat, as well as the hotels of the Corinthia Group, are equally well suited for meetings and smaller conferences. The short distances between localities also mean that delegates can be accommodated in different hotels, as travel times between towns rarely exceed 15 minutes. Malta International Airport is located less than 30 minutes away from most hotels.
Malta is also closer to your home base than you may think. National carrier Air Malta and many other airlines offer direct flights to the island. Just a three-hour plane ride from London and two to two-and-a-half hours from other major European destinations, Malta offers a Mediterranean climate and glorious scenery that allows plenty of outdoor activities. This means conference and meeting delegates will enjoy every moment of their time on the island. They can visit Malta’s several World Heritage Sites, such as megalithic temples, and the country’s capital, Valletta; dive in the crystalline waters surrounding the island or take a nature ramble across Malta’s countryside. Options for sport activities and team-building exercises are limitless and include tennis, golf and rock climbing, as well as a treasure hunts in the ancient city of Mdina, or a jeep safari on Gozo, Malta’s smaller sister island, which is just a 20-minute ferry trip away.
Conventions Malta offers a variety of services designed to help event organisers. www.conventionsmalta.com provides specific information on the 64 certified destination management companies (DMCs), hotels, facilities, service providers and venues, audio visual companies, exhibition stand designers and event organisers. Malta is also excellent value for money. Most smaller venues such as palazzos and hotel ballrooms can be rented for around €2,000 a day, while hotel rates in the off-peak season can be as low as €40 a night.
A Packed Programme
While thousands may flock to Malta for its ideal location and excellent conference facilities, they return for so much more. With 300 days of sunshine, limitless leisure opportunities and first-class dining, Malta offers an abundance of attractions that can form a pre- or post-conference programme. A rich historical and cultural environment and the reassurance of a modern infrastructure all combine to cement Malta’s reputation as a choice hub for conferences and seminars: the ideal MICE destination.