Malta is booming

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The pretty Mediterranean island of Malta, and nearby Gozo, have enjoyed an 8% rise of British visitors this year.

The figure will go even higher in 2014 too, when British Airways intends to restart daily flights to the island, ex-Gatwick, from March 30 – hand-baggage only tickets from £55, Euro Traveller seats for customers with bag from £67, and Club Class from £274, all one-way.

Alex Incorvaja, Malta Tourism director (UK & Ireland) says: “We are delighted BA is back, making the Islands more accessible to British travellers, for leisure or business.”

Even before BA’s return, Malta’s winter sun programme is looking very tempting too. At Malta Direct, prices lead in at £319 for seven nights’ B&B at the four-star waterfront Hotel on Sliema’s seafront prom. If you’re quick, you might grab a remarkable deal from the same operator: 21 nights’ B&B at the four-star Paradise Bay Resort, with great views of Gozo and Comino, from £399, including direct flights and transfers.

Martin Zahra, chief executive of Malta Direct, says: “The return of British Airways is great news. We sold about 98% of flights through packages with Air Malta a few years back, but now our capacity on other airlines covers about 30% of bookings and continues to grow.”

“BA is such a strong brand that it could attract new passengers to come here.”

Zahra is confident that the range of UK regional departures – including regular Easyjet and Air Malta services ex-Gatwick and Manchester- will boost winter bookings, including city breaks in the capital Valletta, which has been lavishly refurbished with EU money.

Winter car hire rates in Malta start around £13 per day.

:: INFORMATION: Malta Direct (0845 604 0035 and www.maltadirect.com); Visit Malta (www.visitmalta.com).

© image from Thinkstock

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