Have you ever wondered how to organize events in Malta? Organising a MICE event in Malta is becoming increasingly interesting: Malta is a destination with a high “feel good factor”. An event to this destination will definitely have a positive effect.
After a successful career in catering and logistics in Belgium, Paul moved to Malta in 1994 and joined a local DMC. In 2000 he founded On Site Malta, which has grown from strength to strength, handling the largest MICE events ever in Malta. The Malta Convention Bureau was conceived in 2011 and Paul is passionate to have this initiative become instrumental in generating growth for the Maltese MICE industry.
Please tell us a few words about Malta Convention Bureau?
The Malta Convention Bureau is a private initiative which will unite the key suppliers in the Maltese MICE industry and for which we’re also trying to gain government cooperation. Malta has only recently been placed on the global map of locations where large format MICE events can take place: in 2010 the local DMC On Site Malta handled the Oriflame Gold Conference with 4,200 delegates. The same DMC will now be handling an event for 6,500 pax in September.
Which are your key target markets?
The aim is to promote Malta towards the organisers of large scale MICE events, assuring them of the adequacy of the local infrastructure, know-how and eagerness to host these events. The initial markets are obviously the traditional ones, where Malta already has a connotation for excelling in hospitality with a proven track record to show: the whole of Western-Europe with which the national airline, Air Malta, has easy connections. Obviously the United States, Russia, India, China, Brasil, South-Africa are other key target markets with reasonably untapped potential for Malta.
How important is the MICE industry for your country?
With tourism being of great importance to the Maltese Island, representing roughly 25% of the GDP, the MICE industry plays a considerable role due to its elevated expenditure per capita of the attracted visitor. A congress delegate will generally spend more on and during his stay in a destination than a language student.
Your destination in three words?
Three words to describe Malta: Diverse, Accessible and Historic. However, to the event planners also safety is a major consideration as well as obviously the mild climate and the local “will-to-deliver”.
What advantages does your destination have?
Due to its position, Malta has always been a key location, right in the middle of the Mediterranean: strategically and economically. This has left its mark on the country: one finds truly unique, historical locations accessible to the MICE organizer. It has also moulded the character of its inhabitants to being hospitable, versatile, inventive, creative and ambitious.
How do you maintain your destination as a top one for congresses?
Malta is gearing up to being Europe’s Cultural Capital in 2018 and this means major projects are on the way: the entrance to Valletta is totally being revamped and will add yet another WOW aspect to this already impressive UNESCO World Heritage site. Other initiatives, such as the restoring, upgrading or building of venues for the MICE industry will contribute to the destination’s success.
Why should our MICE planners consider your destination?
Organising a MICE event in Malta is becoming increasingly interesting: Malta is a destination with a high “feel good factor”, hence the association of an event to this destination will definitely have a positive effect. The components of this “feel good factor” are plentiful, some of which were mentioned before, such as safety and the great climate, but obviously the quality of the infrastructure and the level of know-how play a big role too. Then there are the various initiatives of government support that come into the picture: many services are eligible to be invoiced without VAT or VAT can be claimed back; there is also financial support for certain initiatives such as association meetings.
How do you expect the MICE industry to develop in the next 2-3 years?
The meeting industry is constantly evolving, due to a plenitude of internal as well as external factors, such as companies’ mergers and technology. On top of that, the characteristics of the Y-generation are now more and more influential and decisive in the location, shape, frequency and content of the meetings taking place. Destinations need to take this into account when shaping their marketing campaigns, when bidding for an event and even when designing new venues. Technology has become increasingly important and what was high tech only yesterday is taken for granted today. The Malta Convention Bureau aims to keep in sync with these developments and encourages its partners to do the same: invest in the future.