The first ever joint promotion of the Malta Tourism Authority and the Israel Ministry of Tourism in North America was held at the Park East Synagogue in New York City. H.E. Keith Azzopardi, Malta’s Ambassador to the US in Washington and H.E. Vanessa Frazier, Malta’s Representative to the UN in New York, co hosts of the event both gave welcome remarks. This Malta Israel event was organized under the auspices of the Culture Diplomacy Fund of Malta’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
Terry Dale, President & CEO, United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) was featured speaker along with Michelle Buttigieg, Representative North America, Malta Tourism Authority, Eyal Carlin, Director General Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT) North America and Chad Martin, Director North East Region, IMOT.
Terry Dale, in his remarks, noted “both Malta and Israel have a lot in common. They share the Mediterranean Sea, similar cuisines, diversity and of course rich in history, archaeology and attract religious pilgrimages. Their cultures both reflect the rich mosaic of people that make up their population. Yet despite their similarities, they each have such a unique heritage and flavor that they make this a unique two destination experience.”
Now, with direct flights from Tel Aviv/Malta (only a 2 ½ hour flight) , resuming, it is very easy to combine both Malta and Israel and makes a very attractive combination and add on in either direction.
Michelle Buttigieg spoke about the Jewish Heritage Malta program which was developed and recently launched. Buttigieg said “so few people know that there is a Jewish Community in Malta and that Jewish history in Malta dates back to the time of the Phoenicans. This special program enables visitors to Malta, to be able to locate and identify points of Jewish interest as well as to enable them to connect with the small but vibrant local Maltese Jewish community.”
Chad Martin noted, “Few may know of Malta’s rich Jewish history, just as others often forget that in addition to being the Holy Land, Israel is also a Mediterranean destination with a rich diversity of cultures both historically and presently. By working together we help to remind, inform and, of course, motivate travelers to visit both destinations." He also spoke about the need to rethink heritage travel through the prism of today’s leading travel interests such as green tourism and support for local communities, both key sustainability goals.
Yoram Elgrabli, VP, North and Central America, El Al Israel Airlines, also present at the event, provided a door prize of a roundtrip ticket to Tel Aviv on behalf of El Al.