Conference Fund yields results
A €250,000-per-year conference fund for government entities has drawn over €11 million into Malta's economy since 2009, Tourism Minister Mario de Marco said.
The fund is aimed at encouraging government departments and parastatal entities to attract foreign counterparts and international organisations to hold conferences in Malta.
It has resulted in 75 conferences being held in Malta and Gozo, for a total of 15,700 delegates. 25 conferences are set to be held this year alone, bringing in some €3 million in revenue, Dr de Marco said.
The tourism minister was speaking following a tour of Xara Lodge, a new conference and reception hall built on the outskirts of Rabat. The venue can host over 400 seated delegates, with multiple halls and outdoor areas and an 80-car underground car park.
Finance minister Tonio Fenech, also present, spoke about the growing importance of conference tourism as a niche market.
The conference fund, he explained, had arisen out of the need to continue attracting conference tourism to Malta during the height of the financial crisis in 2009.
"Although many companies decided to cut down on foreign conferences, we realised that international organisations would continue to hold such events abroad," he said.
Dr de Marco agreed, adding that conference tourism was important because conferences tended to be held in off-peak months and delegates tended to stay in Malta for longer than the average tourist.