Visit to Valletta Cruise Port by the Hon. Minister Mario de Marco, Minister for Tourism, Culture and the Environment
Valletta Cruise Port is pleased to announce that it closed its financial year – which ended last month, with a record number of passenger movements of 601,775. This is around 7% more than last year’s record passenger movements and 10% more than Valletta Cruise Port’s previous record of 2007/08.
This year’s results mean that since 1999 cruise passenger activity in Malta grew at an average 11% per year. Our estimates also indicate that Valletta Cruise Port’s share of the Mediterranean passenger supply, measured in lower berth capacity is around 15%. It is also estimated that half the cruise ships that sail the Mediterranean, will be calling in Valletta in 2012.
Until recently, little was known about the cruise sector’s contribution to the local economy. In 2011, this amounted to €79 million. Since 2006, the cruise sector’s contribution to the Maltese economy amounted to €391 million.
The cruise sector’s contribution not only extends to supporting direct and indirect employment, funding of cultural and historical sites, flag registration as well as port services including ship maintenance activities but more importantly, each cruise call (over 300 this year) serves to promote the Maltese islands to the cruise passengers on board. To reach this goal, all stakeholders involved in this sector, continue strive to provide a quality service.
The results to date are encouraging. A review of the Cruise Critic website, which summarises cruise passengers’ feedback on ports and destinations, revealed that 62% of reviewers regard Malta and the port of Valletta as a 5+ and 5 star destination. The vast majority of respondents on “Trip Advisor” also had positive comments about Malta. Also this year, Conde Nast Traveller listed Valletta as one of the top twelve ports in the Mediterranean.
Admittedly, we still need to get our message across and we shall continue to do so in 2013 together with the Malta Tourism Authority, local agents and other stakeholders.
Valletta Cruise Port is not only responsible for the cruise activity in the Grand Harbour. The Valletta Waterfront is a destination of choice for a number of locals and tourists alike. When Valletta Cruise Port (Viset at that time) won the tender for the development of the port area, one of our objectives was not only to regenerate the area but to bring back the public to the port. Today, anyone has access to the Valletta Waterfront. Over the years, Valletta Cruise Port’s development has been recognised through international awards. We are therefore pleased to announce that even this year, Valletta Cruise Port received two more awards: one being the 2012 Global Award for Excellence awarded by the Urban Land Institute as well the 2012 Excellence on the Waterfront Award – presented by the US Waterfront Centre. Our plan for 2013 and the years to come aim at enhancing the Waterfront experience. This includes a water-plaza, a multi-storey car park and more office facilities. As to our tenants, Valletta Cruise Port wishes to congratulate two of its restaurant-tenants, Pintonino, for being voted the best restaurant in its category for 2012 by the Definitively Good Guide and Pepe Nero for an award given by Trip Advisor.
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