Memorable Malta
Global Traveler|August 2021
The tiny island nation goes big for conventions and meetings.
RICHARD NEWTON

The city of Valletta was built to keep outsiders out. Its two natural harbors offer strategic shelter in the central Mediterranean between Italy and the coast of Africa. Any vessel arriving here is confronted by unwelcoming walls formidably constructed from blocks of golden limestone.

These defenses are not just for show. They bear the scars of innumerable attacks, up to and including World War II, when German and Italian forces laid siege to the island for two years, five months, one week and two days. For their bravery, the people of Malta were collectively awarded Britain’s George Cross, the highest award for civilian gallantry, now proudly emblazoned on the national flag.

In recent decades Malta has opened its gates to outsiders. With 300 days of sunshine and a wealth of beaches and historic attractions, tourism has become one of the island’s most important sectors, contributing 15 percent of the gross domestic product. The pandemic reduced that to close to zero, but as they have done so many times in the past, the Maltese weathered the storm and planned for the future.

Meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions will be central to the revival of Malta’s tourism industry. In April 2021 the government announced MICE organizers will receive a grant of $160 for every MICE participant they bring to the country.

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