Malta has won the bid to host The United States Tour Operators Association’s (USTOA) annual Out-of-Country Board Meeting taking place in spring 2020. Board Chairman Dana Santucci, vice president, EF Institute for Cultural Exchange, announced the unanimous vote. Turkish Airlines will be the official USTOA Malta Board Meeting air carrier, providing flights for attendees. A two-day stopover in Istanbul will be included in the event program.
In a written statement, Michelle Buttigieg, Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) representative for North America, said, “Since MTA rejoined USTOA five years ago, the number of USTOA tour operators who have added Malta to their itineraries and those who are expanding their Malta tour product has grown from five to more than 30 in 2019.”
Over the past few years, Malta tourism from North America has grown significantly. In the first quarter of 2019 alone, there was a nearly 40 percent increase from just the U.S. market over the same period of the prior year. In 2018, Malta saw a record number of tourists from the U.S. and Canada.
Malta is a safe and English-speaking destination, Buttigieg said, but she attributes much of this growing popularity to several factors. Valletta, Malta’s capital, was named a European Capital of Culture in 2018. Additionally, Malta is seeing a rise in luxury hotels and has focused on a consumer promotional push, which increased travel consumer media coverage.
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