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MaltaISSUE 65 / CONFERENCE & MEETINGS WORLD / 89through a strategic partnership between the Malta Tourism Authority and the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses. The main conference took place in the MCC, with an opening ceremony in the MFCC and one of the meetings at the Hilton Malta The Fetal Medicine Foundation conference (see case study, right) was held during the first week of July 2011 and brought 1,500 medical professionals to Malta from 80 countries. It generated ?1.3m for the local economy. What's new?Recent developments across the archipelago include a new venue Below: Upper Barrakka Cannon SaluteThe conference was the largest ever held on the islands and generated an estimated ?8m for the local economy. ABTA, the Travel Conference of the Association of British Travel Agents, was held in October 2010 and brought 800 UK agents and 200 travel trade journalists to Malta The European Tourism Forum was held in November 2010 and brought 250 delegates to the islands AS Voyages was a conference for a French travel agency held in December 2010 and attended by 700 delegates The International Council of Nurses was held in May 2011 and brought 2,300 delegates from 127 countries. This event was hosted Event: The 10th World Congress of Fetal Medicine Dates: 26-30 June 2011 Congress Centre: Hilton MaltaDelegates: 1,500 The Fetal Medicine Foundation (FMF) is a charitable organisation created in London in 1995. It aims to improve the health of pregnant women and their babies through research and training.The 10th World Congress was organised by local DMC Alpine Sterling, which programmed a Speakers' Dinner for 100 delegates at La Dolce Vita, St Julian's, and an opening evening social function at the Merkanti Beach Club, Hilton Malta.Another social function on 28 June was held at the Limestone Heritage Park, Siggiewi, for 1,300 delegates.There was an evening tour of Valetta for 600 delegates who had the opportunity to attend the largest free open air concert in Europe, the Isle of MTV concert held at the Fossos just outside the Main City Gate.Alpine Sterling's MD Warren Zahra admits there were anxious moments because the brief had preceded without time for the organiser to check out the venues: "We were trusted, without a site visit, to produce a fi nal evening dinner out in an old quarry, now a park. We lit it up with waterfalls and a DJ and really put our reputation on the line. The stand out moment was when the association's founder, a professor, praised the 2011 event as 'the best ever'."Case StudyDelegates visiting the Maltese Islands in 2010MALTA TOURISM AUTHORITY73,000

Malta90 / ConferenCe & Meetings World / issUe 65opened in the countryside at Montekristo. The Renaissance is a marble pavilion decorated with mosaic reproductions of paintings by Caravaggio and other masters Designed to accommodate 500 seated guests and 2,000 standing, the venue can be converted into a private club. It has its own separate entrance, but can also be accessed from the Montekristo wine vaults. While over in Kalkara, SmartCity Malta is on its way to becoming a ?275m communications and technology hub built on redeveloped land. The project, begun in 2007, is a joint venture between TECOM Investments and Sama Dubai, both Dubai Holding companies. The project, when completed in 2021, will deliver 5,000 jobs. Some offices and spaces are already open.Five-star hotelsMalta has not always been the cheapest of destinations and is certainly not short of top quailty hotels, all with meetings space. Five five-star picks are: Corinthia Hotel St George's Bay: Featuring the award-winning Grill 3301 restaurant Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa: It has the Caprice Wine Garden and offers many signature cocktails Hilton Malta: Listed at number five in the Top 20 Favourite Hotels 2010 in a TravelRepublic.co.uk survey Intercontinental Malta: The place to be pampered. Its spa offers a traditional turkish baths and 2,500sqm of fitness space Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz, Gozo: The first Eco-certified hotel in Gozo and recognised for the second time as the Mediterranean's Leading Spa Resort by the World Travel awards. Four-star hotelsIn the four-star market, The Ramla Bay Resort reopened in March 2011 after extension work, taking its room stock up to 280 and adding a third outdoor pool. Other picks in this category include The George-Urban Boutique Hotel in St Julian's, which prides itself on contemporary design. Its meeting rooms can be combined to host up to 140 persons. The Xara Palace Relais & Châteaux: Palazzo De Piro, a building in the Mdina dating from the 17th century, By 2021, SmartCity Malta will deliver a ?275m technology hub a tecom investments and sama dubai project2021Below: On the waterfront at St Julian's Portmasocan accommodate up to 150 guests for events across five stately rooms. The Xara Lodge, part of the same company, is scheduled to open in May 2012 out in the countryside. It will have facilities for group meetings for up to 750. If it is traditional Maltese entertainment you want, then The Knights of Malta 1565 is a big draw, combining music and history. It is a show portraying the Great Siege of 1565, when a small band of the Knights of St John, together with a handful of Maltese defenders, withstood the onslaught of the mighty Ottoman Empire. The Valletta Living History is another popular historical and cultural show. If it is physical rather than mental excercise your delegates crave, then, in addition to the usual water sports and boat trips around the islands, The Outdoor Living company offers 'Body Zorbing' where participants are encased from the waist upwards in an inflatable ball with legs left free to run, walk, flip or bounce.Whether you stay in five-, four- or any other star rating, it is clear the demand is high so it is advisable to book as early as possible to secure your first choice. Last year saw a bounce back in business, with 73,000 delegates coming to the islands, says the Maltese Tourism Authority. The strongest inbound markets for Malta are Italy (22,000 visitors or 19.5% of total), the UK (17,000) and Germany (9,000). As well as Maltese and English, Italian and Arabic are spoken on the islands. "Malta is a crossroads for cultures. We did have a lull in business starting late 2009, but since May 2010 things have picked up and we are looking ahead at some strong bookings," said Zahra."We are careful to maintain pricing levels and definitely not resting on our laurels," he added. péter vanicsek