Valletta has recently seen a staggering 30 per cent surge in tourism, according to data from the Malta Tourism Authority. It’s clear that Valletta has become a must-visit hotspot for travellers in Europe, but what has contributed to this remarkable growth?
Valletta's irresistible charm
One reason that Valletta, the historic capital of Malta, captivates visitors is its magnificent blend of old and new. The Grandmaster’s Place, as well as St John's Co-Cathedral, which dates all the way back to the 16th century, are both great examples of Maltese history that attract visitors by droves.
However, Valletta is home to a thriving cultural scene, too. Events like the International Baroque Festival bring Malta's ancient streets to life, while museums like MUŻA feature diverse artworks by artists across generations and disciplines.
This thriving culture is also apparent in the narrow streets that are always buzzing with people sitting in cafes or visiting local shops. The incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea add the perfect backdrop for tourists to simply wander, even when they don’t have something specific planned.
Driving factors behind the surge
The tourism boom can be credited to many factors. Firstly, Malta was the filming location for various scenes in Game of Thrones — one of the most popular TV shows of all time — and that certainly helped to lay the groundwork. Many travellers embark on GoT-related tours and visit the filming locations as a rite of passage, so footfall has increased dramatically as a result of media coverage.
Secondly, in 2018, Valletta was named the European Capital of Culture. With Malta on the map, it's perhaps no surprise that internationally, many countries have sought to improve connectivity with direct flight paths and increased flight availability. Undoubtedly, this has had an especially big effect on British holidaymakers. For example, as it stands, there are direct flights from London to Malta starting at an inexpensive rate of just £16. Tourists can choose from various airlines including Heathrow, London City, Southend, Stansted, Luton, and Gatwick, too.
Thirdly, the overall experience of getting to Malta is relatively straightforward. All in all, from England, the flight itself takes less than four hours. For most travellers, this is the ideal trip that doesn't require investing in a whole new wardrobe and long-haul flights.
Evidently, the Maltese government has catered to widespread tourist interest by investing in both tourism and public infrastructure. The city continues to embrace its popularity today and has found a way to smartly balance its rich cultural heritage with modern comforts that cater to a range of different traveller demographics.
Tourism's ripple effect on Valletta
As tourist numbers continue to climb, many businesses in Valletta are seeing the benefits. It’s not just hotels that are benefitting from soaring bookings, but also local shops and eateries that are receiving more visitors. It’s been said that tourism dollars have even rejuvenated many businesses that were once struggling.
Another understated ripple effect is cultural exchange. As more visitors learn about Maltese culture and the history of the country, this can have a widespread effect. This increased exposure is a bit like a snowball effect and will continue to propel Valletta’s tourism industry forward. Locals from Valletta are also benefiting from this exchange by being exposed to more global perspectives.
In most respects, Valletta was already a great tourist destination. It just hadn’t yet been discovered by a wide enough audience, but now that has changed. There’s no better time for you to experience firsthand why it has become such a sought-after destination, so why not start planning?