During a press conference Minister of Tourism Edward Zammit Lewis launched the Malta Cruise Network Forum – a committee made up of interested parties which will serve to promote Malta as a cruise destination of excellence and come up with recommendations on how to strengthen the industry further.
Minister Zammit Lewis said that more than 700,000 cruise liner passengers are expected to visit Malta by the end of the year, which would make 2016 an absolute record for the cruise line industry in Malta.
Dr Zammit Lewis commented that, in view of these results, Government felt the need to form a forum which will be tasked with bringing greater synergy within the industry. The not-for-profit forum, will discuss initiatives to further strengthen the sector. These include promoting Malta as a destination of excellence, improving quality and making Malta more attractive for homeporting.
The forum is made up of representatives of the Tourism Ministry, Malta Tourism Authority, Valletta Cruise Port, Transport Malta, the Ministry for Gozo, Malta International Airport, Heritage Malta, the Ship Agents Association, the General Retailers and Traders Union, the Chamber of Commerce and the Foundation for the Development of Tourist Zones.
Stephen Xuereb, CEO of Valletta Cruise Port and COO of Global Ports Holdings highlighted the importance of this forum to the continous success of the cruise industry in Malta, "As an award-winning destination, stakeholder collaboration is vital to ensure that the cruise industry continues to leave positive impacts on our islands. This will help ensure that passengers, crew and cruise lines alike have the best possible experience of what we offer, also with the vision that we will have them back on a longer stay."