Added 27 April 2023
After a two-year-long hiatus, the Malta Tourism Authority held the Special Thanks and Recognition (STAR) Awards during a spectacular evening on the 02nd of March. The STAR Awards recognise exceptional service by people that work in, or alongside, the tourism industry. These individuals are mostly nominated by visitors and tourists that appraise their positive experiences, the sterling service, and the warm hospitality they received during their stay in Malta and Gozo.
The establishment winners of the STAR Service Awards are BB De Rohan for the Small Accommodation Establishment Category, Salini Resort for the Hotel Establishment Category, Mdina Dungeons Museum for the Visitor Attractions Category, and The Country Terrace Restaurant & Lounge Bar for the Restaurant Category. In the meantime, Mr Daniel Koneski, hailing from The Country Terrace Restaurant & Lounge Bar, was the winner from the Restaurant Employee Category; Mr Joseph Busuttil from the Mdina Dungeons Museum was recognised within the Visitor Attractions Employee Category; Ms Maria Carbonaro, from Mayflower Hotel Malta, won the Accommodation Housekeeping Employee Category; whilst Mr Ridha Ben Moussa from Salini Resort was recognised as the best employee from the Front Desk Category. All winners received a STAR Award, consisting of a glass trophy, a certificate, and a monetary gift.
One special mention from the STAR Service Award category during the evening was for Mr Philip Bantick. This winner had saved a young child from choking whilst he was on duty at the Esplora Science Centre. The child’s parents nominated Mr Bantick for his heroic act and for his excellent knowledge of First Aid that saved the boy’s life. The Malta Tourism Authority, being an advocate for the importance of First Aid in all areas of the tourism industry, supported the boy’s parents’ nomination for Mr Bantick’s efforts and quick-thinking in his involvement in saving the child’s life.
The evening also saw the award-giving to the Hotel Worker of the Year. For this award, the employees were nominated by the management of their respective hotels where they are employed at, and the winner was chosen by the STAR committee. The Hotel Worker of the Year Award was given to Mr Pierre Scicluna, an employee within the Westin Dragonara Resort.
The Malta Tourism Authority and the Ministry for Tourism are enhancing various niches within the tourism sector to diversify tourism in the Maltese islands. One of the niches in particular is the promotion of the Active and Sport segment that attracts a wide range of sport enthusiasts and those seeking a more adventurous holiday. This is a sector which has increased in popularity over the last months and years. Whether it is diving or abseiling, cycling or running, the Malta Tourism Authority takes every opportunity to promote every interest in the various markets it is active in.
This is in line with Malta’s tourism strategy 2021-2030. The aim is to create more diversification of source markets and the reasons that visitors choose Malta and Gozo as their holiday destination. In fact, MTA supports and promotes various local sports initiatives, and as well attracts sport events to the islands, like the various football training camps that we welcomed this winter.
Malta Tourism Authority has formed brand partnerships through the VisitMalta brand with major sport organisations. This is to reach out to a more extensive audience and achieve important destination promotion in our main source markets. Two of our main brand partnerships are EOLO Kometa Cycling Team that had teamed up with VisitMalta last spring, and Manchester United Football Club that has an ongoing partnership with Malta over the past few years.
VisitMalta and EOLO Kometa Cycling Team signed a partnership agreement to give international visibility to the Maltese brand, mostly in international cycling tournaments. The VisitMalta brand is promoted on social media channels of the team, the riders and the management of the team itself. The team has also agreed to train young Maltese riders to eventually join the team upon the end of their training.
In addition to cycling, the VisitMalta brand has also gained strong exposure through the Manchester United partnership agreement throughout the past years. Through the partnership, the VisitMalta brand has strong exposure during the team’s home matches and, on the club’s digital marketing channels, on social media and also on printed media.
Sports tourism is a source of tourism which is spread over the whole year and generates an important economic activity around it, bringing a substantial contribution to our economy. Furthermore, since international sports events attract visitors from many different countries, the promotional reach is worldwide, therefore it proves to be very effective in helping the tourism sector achieve further diversification of our tourism source markets.
In all the endeavours in this regard, both locally and internationally, the MTA and the Ministry for Tourism are working towards establishing Malta as a centre of excellence for anything related to sports.