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MaltaISSUE 65 / ConfErEnCE & MEEtIngS World / 87MaltesecrossroadsfroM prE-hIStorIC tEMplES for rItUalIStIC MEEtIngS, throUgh a knIghtS' hoSpItal, to ContEMporary hotElS and ConvEntIon CEntrES, Malta'S ConfErEnCE SItES Span thE anCIEnt and ModErnWordS Paul Colston / pICtUrES Malta tourisM authority / Péter VaniCsekhe Maltese Islands' pre-historic temples were used for ritualistic meetings in ancient times. Nowadays, the Islands' venues are more likely to be full of AV and other mod conference cons, although Malta, Gozo and Comino still use their long cultural heritage as a draw when pitching for international meetings and incentives business. Malta is accessible in under three hours by air from most European cities, standing as it does at a Mediterranean crossroads.For larger events there are three major venues to consider, according to Warren Zahra, MD of local DMC, Alpine Sterling Conference and Incentives.This trio of venue players includes the Holy Infirmary, now known as the Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC). Fresh from a refit, it offers the longest hall in Europe and its illustrious meetings past includes hosting the 2005 Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference. A former knights' hospital, it can seat 1,400 delegates in the Republic Hall and at 728sqm is Malta's largest auditorium.A second major venue, also able to accommodate 1,400 delegates, is the Hilton Malta down on the St Julian's waterfront. The third venue player is Malta Fairs and Convention Centre (MFCC) in Ta' Qali. Its structure was imported from Wembley Stadium, London and its flexibility enabled it to step in to the venue breach and host guitar legend Carlos Santana's concert in July 2011 when gale force winds forced the promoters to seek an alternative to the intended venue, Granaries in Floriana.Tabove: Malta has a proud heritage and continues to build its history of delivering successful meetings and incentivesMeet in MaltaThe Malta Tourism Authority provides convention bureau services across the islands and picks out for CMW half a dozen major events in recent months that back its claim to be at the centre of the Mediterranean events industry: Oriflame was an August 2010 conference for 5,000 sales agents for a cosmetics distribution company.