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Malta Holidays

BASKING in the Mediterranean, the Maltese Islands boast attractions well out of proportion to their tiny size. Whether visiting the magnificent prehistoric temples, the exuberant festivals, or simply get away from it all, Malta is the perfect holiday destination.

Megaliths, medieval dungeons and Calypso's Cave - Malta is positively mythic. The narrow cobblestone streets of its towns are crowded with Renaissance cathedrals and baroque palaces. The countryside is littered with the oldest known human structures in the world.

The influence on the Maltese way of life right up to independence in 1964 is evident in many aspects. The Maltese adapted the British system of administration, education and legislation. Malta became a republic in 1974 and a member state of the European Union in May 2004.

Strategically situated in the heart of the Mediterranean, the Maltese Islands have long been an important key player in the course of history. This is evident today in the rich architectural and cultural heritage that embellishes the island, the language and cuisine, customs and traditions that make this small archipelago a treasure throve waiting to be discovered.

With its excellent natural harbour and strategic geographic location, Malta has always proven to be an irresistible attraction to the would-be military powers of successive epochs. Malta has played host to a long list of important visitors over the centuries, from the Apostle Paul to Napoleon and Lord Nelson. Hospitality is second nature to the island's friendly residents. The Maltese are innately friendly and hospitable. This hospitality is the result of centuries of direct contact with foreigners from all parts of the Mediterranean.

Malta sees rise in British tourists

The number of British tourists visiting Malta increased by 3.2 per cent in March, contributing to a 10.8 per cent year-on-year boost in inbound tourists for the month, official figures show.

Malta's National Statistics Office reports tourist departures from the islands in March reached 71,281, reflecting a rise in those on Malta holidays, especially among British, French and Italian visitors.

The total number of nights spent on the islands by visitors was 1.1 per cent higher than during March 2006, with nights spent in private accommodation growing by 5.6 per cent.

However, the average number of nights spent by each visitor fell slightly by 0.8 nights compared with a year ago, to 8.4 nights.

Meanwhile, the amount of money spent by tourists increased by 12.8 per cent compared with the previous year, to Lm 23.6 million (£37.4 million). The amount of money spent by British visitors increased by 3.1 per cent.

Among the attractions likely to draw British visitors on Malta holidays this year are the islands' annual Jazz Festival, which takes place on the third weekend of July and the National Folk Singing Festival in late May.

Gaynor Pengelly is a business and travel journalist who writes for The Mail on Sunday, Independent, CityAM, Yorkshire Post and various glossy magazines. Previously, Gaynor worked as business travel editor at The Mail on Sunday and was also interviewer on The Mail on Sunday’s Rich Report, a glossy dossier on Britain's wealthy. In 2000 she was nominated for a British Press Award.
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