We apply the concepts of sustainable and regenerative tourism to tailor-make unique experiences for our guests. Of utmost importance is that every individual receives a high quality of service. Through thinking outside the box, we skillfully create an authentic and immersive journey through our little island’s rich history, culture, and tradition.
Experience Valletta, the small capital city with a big heart. Get ready to discover the myriad flavours of Mediterranean culture, people and food, as we guide you through the iconic landmarks built by the Knights of St John and the bustling streets of this UNESCO heritage site. Join us, and uncover the secrets of the city that breathes history and lives contemporary.
The ‘next normal’
Successful living is also the ability to find the silver lining that shines through difficult times. Undoubtedly, the pandemic has been the most difficult of such times. But it’s now time to open a doorway to the new reality and the huge potential it brings with it. New lifestyles, new work ethos, new experiences – this is the next normal that we look forward to.
What next for us in destination management?
As leaders in events and destination management, the first months of the pandemic saw us prioritise communication with local businesses and partners in an effort to provide continuous updates about cancelled and postponed bookings. It was soon clear to us that the travel and events sectors needed to evolve alongside the new realities that we were facing. Thus followed a period of reinvention, where we evolved our strategy to launch a new interpretation of the destination we love so much. More about this later.
The travel industry post-covid
The luxury travel market started undergoing a shift in behaviour well before COVID-19 hit. Now, the shift has accelerated as discerning travellers value conservation and sustainability, as well as authentic local experiences.
With most of the world in lockdown throughout 2020 and 2021, many of us rediscovered an appreciation for treasures hidden close to home, together with new ways of enjoying them. Picnics, painting, open-air meditation and mindfulness, sacred places… words that enjoyed a renaissance thanks to pandemic restrictions. And here in Malta, they led us to rediscover our very own treasure, the city of Valletta.
Thus, the birth of our new brand, Very Valletta, which sees us realigning to our roots. As Zoom calls and Teams meetings replace business travel, we are starting to experience a definite shift in travel trends. There is a definite hunger for slow, conscious experiences; in favouring sustainable and purpose-driven travel over fast and cheap options. Travel becomes a transformational experience based on cultural activation, with people travelling for longer periods of time and immersing themselves in new cultures and communities.
Tourism in Malta and Gozo – Our mission statement
Sustainability. Conscious Travel. Experiential Travel. Authenticity. Celebrating art, culture, music, history, ancient traditions, nature, living like a local. Supporting local businesses and communities. Creating safe travel bubbles.
This is where post-pandemic tourism is headed. Today’s traveller looks for quality destinations, communities with heart and soul, locations that can offer sustainability. We would like to see government, local councils and our tourism authority, as well as travel associations, NGOs and businesses, sharing this same vision.
We would like to see incentives that support owner-managed businesses; hotels, restaurants and venues buying and serving local produce, taking a field-to-plate approach, chefs aligning with the planting season. Sustainability is a subject that needs its own targeted policies that go beyond the removal of single-use plastic. We’re thinking water and waste management, fat traps, striving for carbon neutrality, bio-architecture, solar energy, traffic management, zero waste concepts, circular product development, behind the scenes practices and supply chains.
Our ‘next normal’
Islanders are natural survivors, our innate ability to adapt and evolve standing us in good stead in these trying times. Lifestyle changes in Malta and Gozo were initiated fast, thanks to the pandemic, with many now enjoying remote working, buying local, living more in touch with nature, supporting local businesses and being mindful about consumption habits.
Now that we are slowly emerging from the COVID-19 situation, as destination management companies (DMCs) we feel it is time to incorporate this ‘next normal’ within our travel proposals, offering more immersion in nature, sustainable travel and experiences that help our guests live in the moment.
In 2020, we had the opportunity to redraw our lines of engagement with tourism and embrace concepts that in previous years took a backseat while we strived for more arrival, bed nights, yields and higher numbers. But now we see that small is truly the new big, and it is with this approach that we are promoting the Maltese Islands – especially Valletta – with those who wish to share our identity, our community and our Mediterranean essence with us. Historically, Malta has always been the heart of the Mediterranean. And now we have the opportunity to help our guests live this.
Very Valletta is one of the most exciting projects to be born out of our post-COVID creative brainstorming. This concept sees Valletta as a safe space where travellers, whether family and friends, small groups, or locals, stay in the capital city, built by the Knights of St. John, in boutique hotels and residences, where they can enjoy a highly-sustainable lifestyle surrounded by the sea, connected to the local community and culture. Travellers want to wake up in an authentic city, eat locally-sourced food, and celebrate traditions with locals. This is the first pillar upon which the Very Valletta concept stands.
A second pillar is ‘Safety, feeling Safe and the visibility of Safety’.
Welcome to our vision for Very Valletta
“Climb to the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of autumn”
From curated stays that reflect our guests’ individual passions to a 360-degree experience of Valletta that includes food, art, culture, communities, lifestyles and more. This is our vision for the capital city, a kaleidoscope of simple pleasures to build memories.
Rituals – Healthy Eating – Concierge Services
Fishing – Farm-to-Fork – Salt Harvesting
The Art of the Matter
Music – Pottery – Art – Cuisine
Sacred Sites – Open Spaces – Olive Groves – Vineyards
Remote Working & Digital Nomads
Under the Mediterranean Sun – Healthy Eating – Walks
Team Building – Life Coaching – Inspirational Workshops (e.g., Upcycling)
Diving – Coasteering – Abseiling – Sport Fishing – Kayaking
Picnics – Full Moon – Dining Under the Stars – Sound Immersion – Meditation
MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions)
Mindful – Sustainable – Intimate – Authentic
Trekking – Bird Watching – Wine Tasting – Walking
Services currently being streamlined:
We are currently in process of rolling out our vision for Very Valletta, carefully handpicking businesses, brands and collaborators with an identity that complements our concept:
- Selecting Boutique Guesthouses and Hotels
- Sanitisation with COVID-certified disinfectants.
- Selecting an electric bicycle supplier to offer eco-friendly local transportation.
- Identifying experts in local cooking traditions.
- Developing classes in subjects like drying herbs, making jam from local fruit, preserving vegetables, making tomato sauce, producing honey, olive oil making, cheese making, baking bread etc. These can be held on Teams/Zoom if required.
- Meditation classes & Tea Ceremonies (indoors, zoom or in awesome locations)
- Workshops e.g., recycling, upcycling.
- Yoga (indoors, zoom or in unique locations)
- Picnic service in unique locations
- Personal Trainers
- Lifestyle Coaches
- Online concierge service (telephone, email & WhatsApp)
- Meets and greets with artists, musicians and artisans we collaborate with.
- Sourcing English-speaking fishermen and farmers who will invite guests to spend a day with them (at a fee).
- Creating a list of open spaces and sacred spaces that offer moments of peace and refreshment for people to tap into their own deep wisdom and find an antidote to the stressful, divisive, and isolating effects of life in today’s complex world. Each space is sacred in its capacity to transform and empower the people who enter it.
- Creating a map of public picnic sites.
- Getting permission to create zero-impact culinary events in unique locations, possibly an education in finding a way where there has never been one before. It is about keeping balance amid surprises and designing something meaningful in one of the most remarkable islands in the Mediterranean.
- Pushing for the tourism service providers to switch to electric mobility with the ultimate goal of having a total emission free industry.
Path to the future:
There is a strong desire to make this a better world, and to succeed there must be no personal agenda. This needs to be a process of dialogue, listening and bringing more people to the table to make this a big collective movement. These sacred places become visual representations of that authentic process that will lead the community to a deeper understanding of what is sacred to them. There are a multitude of individuals, along with private and public organisations that may seem unconnected to each other, but with similar missions. They are reacting to the problems of living in an increasingly stress-ridden world and an environmentally-challenged planet by resolving to change the areas they inhabit. Quietly, beneath the drumbeat of global dysfunction and discouragement, a shift in imagination is emerging. This is a growing phenomenon. The shift demonstrates a burgeoning realisation that a place intentionally connected to nature can be a gift that calms the soul, replenishes the spirit, and rekindles a sense of community. The seed of that shift comes from the ability to tap into an inner sacred place and have an open heart. , built by ancient Masters of Stone, may well have been this connection to nature.
It is time for Valletta TO STAND OUT and embark on its own course and offer a more organic travel experience, where guests never feel rushed or as though they are on a check-the-boxes itinerary.
Which brings us to our Third Pillar, which is to include a number of outings that would not be possible without our connections, forged through good, old-fashioned personal contact, knocking on doors and meeting people with a story to tell; local chefs, fishermen, farmers, designers, vintners and artists, to create the ultimate passion-led local travel experience. We are firm believers in the power of word-of-mouth testimonials, and it will not be long before Valletta is defined by this new ethos.
What about us DMCs?
It is time to move away from classic destination management towards offering authentic destination experiences that resonate on a deeper emotional level – journeys that are more adventurous, sustainable and personalised, and that are more attuned to local culture, inspiring guests towards a path of self-discovery. Adventure travel means different things to different people. For some, adventure travel means diving. For others, it might be biking, or walking trails in the countryside.
Planting the Seeds of Change
Our staff are well taken care of and happy to work with us. Many have been with us for many years. During COVID, we made it a priority to retain our entire team. We focus on promoting local restaurants and activities and supporting family-owned businesses. This will help grow independent businesses and support the local economy.
We provide training to our team, especially in terms of sustainability, while promoting diversity and inclusion. We allow staff time off work to help with charitable causes, such as the Valletta Soup Kitchen. Not only does this support local good causes, it also boosts the morale of our team, knowing that they are valued and they have time to give back to the community.
Our guests travel to our destination to enjoy the experience. To protect our environment, we, as a tourism operator, must remain vigilant with a long-term view. Our team and cguests often participate in beach clean-ups and the adoption of injured turtles.
We at Very Valletta are ready for this next-generation experiential destination management.