The tiny island of Malta is no bigger than the
Isle of Wight. The islands are most well-known in the United Kingdom as a
holiday destination famous for its beaches, bays, clear blue seas and a
benevolent climate. To the older generation their role in World War II is
best known and current awareness of the islands is contributed to by their
use as a film location for major Hollywood films such as Gladiator. The
islands profile will shortly be raised again for its role as the location
for the new “blockbuster” Troy. The British influence is still very strong
and this is a reassuring element for holiday makes, from short stay to
long stay and across
all ages. Cars driving on the left, red telephone
boxes and particularly the widespread use of the English language have
long encouraged British visitors, who used to make up 75% of visitors to
Malta. In recent years the islands Mediterranean location has attracted
many visitors from across Europe and this is increasing and will continue
to do so given the current European Union application.
Valletta, built in 1566 and now declared a World Heritage City, is Malta's
capital city: The narrow streets contain some of Europe's finest art
works, churches and palaces, historic and cultural sites. Amongst the
islands attractions are the Grand Master's palace; The Blue Grotto and the
medieval citadel at Mdina.
Malta’s tourism is moving away from the traditional 'sun,
sand and sea'
product to a higher quality holiday with a culture and heritage
The tourist industry is vital to the republic, attracting over one million
visitors annually. Tourism accounts for 27% of full time employment, in
the order of 41,000 jobs. There is currently change in the make up of UK
tourists to Malta away from resort package tourists to more upmarket,
quality and shorter stay tourists and with a shift towards heritage and
cultural visits. Links with Britain are still very strong in terms of both
family and older holidaymakers and regular holiday resort loyalty.