The Malta Independent 5 March 2024, Tuesday
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Poland’s leading tour operator ITAKA Lider in Malta

Wednesday, 7 February 2024, 10:36 Last update: about 26 days ago

Recently, a joint event by MTA, ITAKA Poland and Alpine Sterling DMC took place at the Radisson Golden Sands Hotel to celebrate the growing success of Malta amongst Polish travellers. The audience was addressed by the Chairman of the MTA, Dr Gavin Gulia, MHRA President, Mr Tony Zahra, and ITAKA's President, Mr Piotr Henicz. In his speech, Dr Gulia gave a warm welcome to ITAKA's top management, sales managers, and agents, and thanked them for their commitment in selling Malta, for choosing to visit and experience the Maltese Islands, and for hosting the ITAKA Lider conference in our country.

A few months ago, the VisitMalta Regional Office in Warsaw joined forces with ITAKA Poland, the leading tour operator in the Polish market, and established a collaborative agreement. This partnership actively promotes and markets the Maltese Islands, placing particular emphasis on the winter months. Through this agreement, ITAKA is also promoting and selling package holidays to travellers based in Poland who want to visit Malta all year round.  This agreement continues to strengthen and evolve the hugely encouraging numbers of the Polish market in the local tourism industry, whilst increasing the brand visibility of the Maltese Islands in the Polish market.

Over the past couple of years, Malta broadened its range of source markets, and as a result, it became less dependent on the core markets of the UK, Germany, Italy, and France. Consequently, in 2019, a growth from secondary markets, such as Eastern Europe, was recorded, with Poland in particular attracting almost 105,000 visitors. The MTA identified the potential in the Polish market and started working hard to attract more Polish tourists towards the Maltese Islands, and in November 2022, a new VisitMalta office was inaugurated in Warsaw, the first regional office in Eastern Europe, to serve as a hub to cater for the rising demand of the Polish market as well to serve as a point of reference for Eastern Europe and the Baltic region.

This proved to be a highly strategic choice as the Polish market increased at a very rapid rate, reaching a total of 149,000 inbound tourists between January and November 2023, shooting its way up to the 5th place in the top source markets during the first eleven months of 2023.  This positive outcome was the result of MTA's enhanced marketing efforts in the Polish market. Investments were made in several online and digital campaigns, print advertising, social media exposure together with radio and other outdoor advertising campaigns, the hosting of social media influencers, and promoting the Maltese Islands on popular Polish TV stations. Moreover, more work was done on other elements that include connectivity and partnerships with several tour operators and airlines. With regards to Poland, Malta benefits from superb connections to several Polish cities, making the island accessible all year round from all major airports. This shows how the Polish market played a key role in contributing towards the tourism recovery and the encouraging results achieved in 2023.

Poland stands as the fastest-growing source market for inbound tourism in Malta. The agreement with ITAKA, continues to amplify the significant potential Malta holds in the Polish market. Polish people visit Malta all year round typically for short breaks, family holidays, English language learning and active holidays. Polish travellers look for warm and hospitable destinations like the Maltese Islands. That said, Malta has become more popular in Poland not only for the Islands' pleasant climate and the hospitality of the Maltese people but, more importantly, for the overall exceptional holiday experience promised and delivered to visitors that is achieved through a rich heritage and a diverse tourism product that caters to all ages and interests, and the constantly growing number of connections and seat capacity between Malta and Poland.

Thanks to this agreement with ITAKA, and the continued excellent connectivity between the two countries, the MTA is confident that the influx of visitors from Poland will persist in its growth over the upcoming years.

Dr Gulia stated "Today we are celebrating the remarkable tourism performance we had in 2023, which led to a successful recovery of the tourism sector in Malta. I strongly believe that although the Polish source market has heavily contributed to this success, there is still room for growth. Thanks to this agreement with ITAKA and their commitment in selling Malta, Alpine Sterling for their great collaboration as the local DMC for ITAKA, Mr Tony Zahra, President of MHRA, MTA's Regional office in Warsaw, under the direction of Regional Director Mr Jimmy Attard, Mr Arthur Grima, Director Marketing, all the staff working within the MTA, and the continued excellent connectivity between the two countries, the MTA is confident that the influx of visitors from Poland will persist in its growth over the upcoming years".

"The Polish market is proving to be one of Malta's most emerging source markets in recent years. This is being achieved thanks to the sterling work being done by the Malta Tourism Authority to ensure that the Maltese Islands continue to be an attractive destination all year round. We are looking forward to see more Polish tourists visit the splendour of the Maltese Islands for the months and years to come," outlined Minister for Tourism and Public Cleanliness Clayton Bartolo.

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