Published on : Thursday, June 16, 2016
As part of its ongoing efforts to achieve further growth and greater diversification, the Malta Tourism Authority has intensified its presence in Eastern Europe and is already registering positive results. 2015 was a very successful year for the Maltese Islands from countries such as Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia and the first few months of 2016 also started on a positive note. The MTA’s main target segments for tourists from these countries were sun and sea, active holidays, weddings, English language learning and city breaks.
2015 was particularly impressive for the Polish market, with an increase of 33.1% when compared to 2014. This means that the total of arrivals from Poland exceeded 46,000 visitors. It is very encouraging to note that between 2010 and 2015, the number of visitors has increased by 34,000, which is equivalent to a remarkable increase of around 285%.
In order to boost arrivals from Poland, the accessibility of the Maltese Islands has been augmented. Direct flights are now available from five Polish cities, namely Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw, Poznan and Krakow, serviced by Wizz Air and Ryanair. Between these five cities, the Maltese Islands are served with 12 weekly flights, and this resulted in Poland ranking fifth best source market for the Malta International Airport in April and May 2016.
MTA’s marketing activities in Poland included a 2-week bus advertising campaign using a total of 48 vehicles in Warsaw, Krakow and Poznan. Besides this, numerous presentations were carried out to tour operators, travel agents and language schools, as well as participation in a number of road-shows. A reality television programme named ‘You Can Dance’, which airs on TVN Poland, dedicated three 45-minute programmes to Malta. These 3 programmes, filmed and based on the Maltese Islands, gave a great boost to the Maltese Islands particularly among the younger generation.
The Czech market registered an increase of almost 40% in inbound tourists in 2015 when compared to the previous year. This means that the incoming tourists from the Czech Republic have doubled from 6,000 visitors in 2010 to over 12,000 last year. More than a quarter of Czech visitors to Malta in 2015 came here to study English.
MTA’s promotional efforts in this market were also strengthened in the past months. A TV campaign was organised in collaboration with KovoTour, a large tour operator. The campaign utilised an extended 2-minute TV spot which aired 90 times. Another television campaign will soon be undertaken together with Fischer, one of the top three Czech tour operators. This campaign will air on two major channels with 152 spots being shown over a nine day period. In addition to these TV campaigns, promotion also took place on the back of buses as well as on billboards.
With regard to connectivity, in addition to Air Malta’s flights, the MTA is pleased to announce that as of 18th June, CSA Airlines shall be commencing, thus increasing to four weekly flights between Prague and Malta. This new route brought with it a great deal of promotion in the Czech Republic, with numerous online campaigns as well as daily newspapers adverts and articles.
Tourism from Hungary is also experiencing a positive trend. In fact, traffic from Hungary increased by more than 10,000 visitors between 2010 and 2015. Last year, arrivals from the Hungarian market increased by 3.5% compared to 2014. This result is also attributable to increased promotion and improved connectivity.
Over the past months, MTA carried out various campaigns in Hungary in order to increase visibility for the Maltese Islands. Amongst these were a number of radio campaigns including a 15-day prime time campaign on Class FM together with Wizz Tours, and a separate campaign airing 116 twenty-second spots on Slager FM, the number one radio station in Hungary.
A great boost for Malta’s exposure in the Hungarian market came through TV2 that aired two documentaries in February and another two documentaries in May. The February documentaries focused on popular Hungarian celebrity Eszter Iszak, who recounted her extremely positive experience of the Maltese Islands. The May documentaries consisted of two 22-minute programmes focusing on various aspects of the Malta and Gozo.
Further promotion in Hungary included a city lights campaign, consisting of 75 backlit posters strategically placed around Budapest for one month.
This unprecedented level of activity is complimented with an increased schedule of flights between the two countries, with Wizz Air operating five weekly flights in the peak summer period, and another two weekly flights flown by Ryan Air.
Tags: Malta Tourism Authority