The Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Julia Farrugia Portelli visited the National Stadium and the complex of the Malta Football Association in Ta’ Qali on Monday. During this visit, the two parties discussed the various opportunities with regards to sports tourism.
Sports tourism, especially that related to the training camps of football teams, has grown a lot in Malta over the last year, and it is estimated that €5 million were injected into the Maltese economy thanks to this. Studies show that this joint work between the Malta Tourism Authority, the MFA and the company MFA Sports Plus, over the last year, brought 30,000 bed nights in accommodation establishments. This is in addition to the advertising of our country on international sites, stations and newspapers by media outlets that come to Malta in order to follow their respective teams.
Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli explained how sports tourism is a niche that the Ministry of Tourism must continue to leverage in the future. “In the coming months we want to attract more tourists to our country also through football training camps and in collaboration with the Malta Football Association, we will continue to support this,” said Minister Farrugia Portelli.
The minister added that we must look forward to further strengthening this strong relationship between the Malta Football Association and the ministry, together with the Malta Tourism Authority, in the coming months.
The President of the Malta Football Association Bjorn Vassallo praised the collaboration between the MFA, the Ministry for Tourism and the Malta Tourism Authority and stressed the importance of such meetings which gives the association motivation to further improve the infrastructure and thus make Malta more competitive in the sports tourism market in southern Europe.
Mr Vassallo reiterated how much football contributes to the country and explained that the occupancy of nights in the accommodation is divided into: 15,000 bed nights thanks an agreement made by the company Sports Plus which is a subsidiary of the MFA and supported by the Malta Tourism Authority, and another 15,000 bed nights through national teams that play competitive games in our country. In total, these amount to 30,000 bed nights in local accommodation.
Accompanying the minister were the Chairman of the Malta Tourism Authority Gavin Gulia and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection Mr Ronald Mizzi, along with other officials from the ministry, the Malta Tourism Authority and the Malta Football Association.