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Malta expects more Chinese tourists to experience local life

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-10-18 11:46

Malta expects more Chinese tourists to experience local life


Malta expects more Chinese tourists to visit the island, not only for sightseeing but also for experiencing the local life, Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) CEO Paul Bugeja told Xinhua in an interview.

"We are committed to transform our tourism industry from the traditional 'holiday services' to the 'experiential travel' which combines the civic life and community activities together," said Bugeja.

"We are managing open important channels of communication to introduce Maltese culture to the Chinese tourists," he added.

MTA believes that many Chinese are not just interested in sightseeing, but care about exposure to the "live in the local" experience, which includes food, photography, weddings, civic life and so on.

Bugeja thinks that the Mediterranean lifestyle and Malta's complex history, among other cultural aspects, are great attractions for Asian tourists.

The modern Chinese tourists are on a voyage of learning and discovery, and Malta can offer English teaching, culinary delights and traditional industries to them, according to Bugeja.

In order to attract more visitors to Malta, MTA has been making grand strides in expanding the Chinese tourist market. They are in cooperation with Caissa Travel Agency and the Bank of China, and are working towards establishing new agreements with other Chinese tour operators.

MTA has also established official accounts on Weibo and Wechat, as well as providing a Chinese destination brochure and a Chinese language version of the "Visit Malta" website.

As more Chinese enter the country, museums, attractions, restaurants and hotels will begin providing Chinese translations.

From last month, Chinese visitors can reclaim VAT on purchases in Malta and receive VAT refund via Alipay directly converted into RMB.

"In the long run, Chinese tourists not only bring economy growth to Malta's tourism, but also stimulated the development of other supporting industries," Bugeja told Xinhua.

Malta welcomed 6,000 Chinese tourists in 2016, and MTA is confident that number will grow this year. It aims to reach 10,000 Chinese tourists by the end of 2018.


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