The Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection, together with the Ministry for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government and the Valletta Cultural Agency, launched Christmas in the City, a programme of events for the coming weeks planned to liven up the city.
A free parking scheme for Valletta visitors, on Black Friday the 27th of November, on the 8th and 13th of December and from the 19th of December till the 1st of January, was also announced at a press conference held at Pjazza Teatru Rjal.
This initiative will be funded by the Malta Tourism Authority through an investment of €50,000. This was announced by Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Julia Farrugia Portelli. “At this time, we want to keep the Christmas spirit alive while continuing to help and support the local industry. We believe that this balance can be achieved through an ongoing economic activity even when it comes to Christmas shopping, while people keep following the necessary precautions,” said Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli.
Minister Farrugia Portelli encouraged those who usually spend their holidays abroad to consider places such as boutique hotels and restaurants in Valletta and to enjoy the atmosphere that will be similar to that of other cities, but also a unique one. She mentioned how the Christmas programme for this year will be different but in line with the latest measures issued by the Health Department.
Minister for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera stated that by means of the announced initiatives and incentives for those who will be visiting Valletta, the arts and culture will once again lead to economic and social regeneration. He continued that, despite the particular times we are living in, it is vital that we continue supporting artists with our participation as members of the audience, and that cultural events continue to be held.
Chairman of the Malta Tourism Authority Dr Gavin Gulia explained how, despite the pandemic, the authority continued to use marketing tools to continue advertising the capital city, which has transformed itself into a touristic destination. He mentioned how Valletta offers accommodation of very high quality and has raised its standards even from a culinary point of view, with restaurants even carrying the Michelin title. Dr Gulia concluded by saying that Christmas times should be used to continue to advertise Valletta with tourists.
Valletta Cultural Agency Chairman Jason Micallef said; “In the extraordinary circumstances we’re living in, the Valletta Cultural Agency will be holding its Christmas programme from the 20th of November – when the Christmas lights and tree will be switched on – to the end of the year, in full respect to the measures issued by the Department of Public Health, and is making sure that the Christmas spirit lives on. Despite restrictions in the choice of events, the Valletta Cultural Agency’s Christmas in the City programme includes a series of events varying from performing arts, street theatre, music, Christmas choirs, and above all, Christmas lights for Republic Street and Merchants Street and, for the first time, on all the facades in St George’s Square. The crib in Pjazza de Valette will also be set up, as well as an artistic nativity scene on the facade of the Main Guard.”
The Valletta Cultural Agency’s Christmas programme includes small and medium events in several places including Pjazza de Valette, Freedom Square, Republic Street, Great Siege Square, St George’s Square, is-Suq and Strada Stretta, besides the Christmas lights.
The Valletta Cultural Agency is making sure that all restrictions imposed by the Public Health Department are followed and therefore one can enjoy these Christmas events with peace of mind.
Also present for this press conference were Mr Ronald Mizzi, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Tourism, MTA’s CEO Mr Johann Buttigieg, CEO of the Malta Chamber of SMEs Ms Abigail Mamo, as well as business community representatives.