Malta Tourism Authority Hosts “Luxury Malta” Travel Industry Event in New York City

Malta Tourism Authority hosted a media and travel industry event on Thursday, March 7, 2024, at the new home of the Malta Permanent Mission to the UN in New York City. The focus was on Malta’s growing luxury product, new-5-star hotel openings and curated experiences.

Michelle Buttigieg, North American Representative of the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA), welcomed guests and noted that the 2023 total number of visitors from the U.S. was 55,096, an increase of 35.6% over 2022 and a 9% increase over 2019 pre-COVID numbers. Canada also showed a 36.3% growth (20,820) over 2022 and an increase of 7.5% when compared to 2019 (pre-COVID figures). Buttigieg credited the increase with support of Malta’s travel industry partners such as Virtuoso, USTOA (United States Tour Operators Association), Travel Agent Academy, as well as MTA’s diverse but targeted promotional campaigns.

Buttigieg then introduced H.E. Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations in New York, who delivered remarks on Malta’s growing recognition in the international community and more specifically in the U.S. Ambassador Frazier said that she was very pleased to host MTA’s first official event at the new home of Malta’s Permanent Mission to the UN and looks forward to hosting more tourism focused events. 

A video message from MTA CEO Carlo Micallef, noted that “Malta, for many years, was considered the hidden gem of the Mediterranean, but through the hard work of our MTA Representative in NY, Michelle Buttigieg, her team and our partners in the U.S., Malta isn’t so hidden anymore.” 

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MTA CEO Carlo Micallef’s video message

A panel discussion focused on “Luxury Malta,” starting with Christophe Berger, Director of VisitMalta Incentives & Meetings, who discussed the expansion of Malta’s luxury hotel product, and noted that Malta continues to maintain its position as a leader in yacht & superyacht registration, as the largest register in Europe, as well as part of the top 10 registered in the world. Berger also noted that the partnerships with the Forbes Guide and inclusion of Malta in the Michelin Guide have also put Malta on the luxury travel map. Jason Allan, from Exclusively Malta, a Virtuoso Preferred Supplier, shared insights into luxury curated experiences that take advantage of Malta’s rich history, culture, diversity and gastronomy. He noted that “luxury is not defined by a price tag and that travelers are seeking to experience Malta through the locals and their storylines.” Rodolfo Cresta, of Melia Hotels International, provided an overview of the upcoming new hotel opening named ME Malta by Melia in St. Julians, further enhancing the country’s luxury hospitality offerings.

Luxury Malta panelists: Jason Allan, MD, Exclusively Malta; H.E. Amb. Vanessa Frazier; Christophe Berger; Michelle Buttigieg; and Rodolfo Cresta – Corporate & PREMIUM Sales Director, ME Melia)

Malta and its sister islands Gozo and Comino, an archipelago in the Mediterranean, boasts a year round sunny climate and 8,000 years of intriguing history. It is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Valletta, Malta’s Capital, built by the proud Knights of St. John. Malta has the oldest free-standing stone architecture in the world, showcasing one of the British Empire’s most formidable defense systems, and includes a rich mix of domestic, religious and military structures from the ancient, medieval and early modern periods. Rich in culture, Malta has a year-round calendar of events and festivals, attractive beaches, yachting, trendy gastronomical scene with 6 Michelin-starred restaurants and a thriving nightlife, there is something for everyone. 

SEEN IN MAIN IMAGE:  Peter Greenberg – CBS News Travel Editor, Brad Simmons – NY Dir. Sales & Marketing, The Surrey (Corinthia), NYC; H.E. Amb. Vanessa Frazier – Permanent Representative of Malta to the UN; Pradeep Raman – Managing Director, The Surrey (Corinthia), NYC, Michelle Buttigieg – Rep. NA, MTA; and Christophe Berger – MTA Dir. VisitMalta Incentives & Meetings – image courtesy of Malta Tourism Authority

About the author

Linda Hohnholz